There is a common misconception that having a will, and a will alone, is enough to preserve and protect your assets for your loved ones. This, unfortunately, is not true. Even if a person has a will, the will will need to be probated before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. Today, probate can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete, and in the process can accumulate a lot of attorney's fees.
The best, and most sure way to avoid full probate, and protect and preserve the assets of your estate for your loved ones, is to create a living trust. By creating a living trust you can control what happens to your property, save money by avoiding probate and attorney’s fees, take advantage of significant tax strategies, and provide your loved ones with the convenience of clear, written instructions of your wishes. It is important to point out, however, that estate planning is not just for the elderly or the infirm, or people with wealthy estates. For families with young children, estate planning provides your family with a back-up plan by allowing you to choose who will care for your children, and how they will be cared for, in the event of an untimely death, however unlikely.
There is an exception, however, that has the ability to shorten the probate process. Full probate can usually be avoided if the combined total value of the assets is less than $150,000. Please note, however, that this does not guarantee that probate will be expedited, as other court procedures may be required.
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When someone dies without a living trust, the estate will need to go through a process referred to as probate, before the assets can be distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. Even if someone dies with a will, however, the will will need to be probated before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will.
Today, probate can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete, and is a stressful and time consuming process that can be hard on loved ones. Our attorneys are here to help those who have lost loved ones, who must go through probate before distributing the assets of the estate. It is our practice to make the process as understandable and manageable for our clients, without accumulating an outrageous amount of attorney's fees.
lIVING tRUSTS, wILLS, & eSTATE pLANNING
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