Unless you’re a probate judge or an attorney, you really don’t like probate.
We understand the pain. It’s an arduous, emotionally draining, complex process that also can be quite expensive. And our probate attorneys know the frustration – probate is not very good at providing closure for the loss of a loved one.
The probate administration process can take weeks, and may often involve people who you may not know or trust, and may not be the kinds of people who understand your loved one and what his or her wishes were for his estate.
How To Avoid Probate
You probably get it a lot – “You really need a will,” they all say. Which is true; a will can certainly help with the distribution of your estate by putting your wishes on paper so there is no mystery when the probate court addresses your estate.
But if you actually want to skip probate altogether, then a will by itself won’t be enough.
Before you panic, take solace in knowing that there are estate planning attorneys, like in our office, who know what is needed for you to avoid having to send your family into probate court for any reason. Your estate needs will double and triple checked so the courts never have to get involved, and your estate can be handled smoothly, ethically, and professionally to ensure quick closure so your family can move on.
Probate Attorneys Available For Your Needs
Our firm has estate-planning attorneys on hand to help you form a plan that will distribute assets to your heirs without a judge ever needing to know. We have all kinds of tools at our disposal, and we can help you determine which ones are right for your situation. Some of these tools, besides the will, are:
- Creating trusts: A trust is a way to protect assets from the government, from creditors and even potential heirs (especially if they are minors or have a disorder that prevents them from making sound decisions). A living trust is a way for property to be handed to heirs with little complication. Similar to a will, a trust document has your specific wishes for the contents of the trust in terms of who gets it and how it is to be distributed.
- Two halves become a whole. This is common among married or cohabitating couples, where a house or property is owned by both members of the couple in a joint-tenancy arrangement. When one person passes away, ownership of the property automatically transfers 100% to the surviving owner.
- Pay it forward. If you have bank accounts, investment accounts, and/or insurance policies, most of them can have beneficiaries applied to them, when upon your death those accounts can be accessed by the designated beneficiary. You just need to fill out a form with your financial institution or financial advisor that provides for the “payable after death” benefit. With this in place, there are a few more things that won’t need a probate court.
- Trust your IRA. What if you pass away before you can enjoy the benefits of your retirement accounts? You can set up a stand-alone retirement trust, which becomes the beneficiary of your retirement account. From there, the trust can act as a retirement account and distribute money in installments instead of a lump sum, which can save your heirs a lot of money in taxes.
Cover Your Bases – Call Our Probate Attorneys Today!
As it is said, the devil is in the details. And probate court is there for those estates that don’t take care of all the details.
But of course, it would be unreasonable to expect you to remember all the details. That is why there are professionals who know estate plans and know how to avoid probate effectively. These professionals get paid to remember the details and to make sure you know about them so you can take care of them before the probate court gets its hands on them.
Visiting with one of our wills and trust attorneys to discuss estate planning can be an eye-opening experience, and can empower you to have control over all your details so you can hand down your estate the way you intend in a smooth and efficient manner. Your loved ones should be spared additional heartache in probate court.
You may be asked some tough questions about your life and your estate, but those questions will help you get organized, secure those details, and set up your estate for success for generations to come. Don’t miss a minute – while death is a certainty, when you die is never certain.
Certainty is in the details, and an estate plan provides security for you and your family. You love them well, and you should prove it by taking care of everything. There is no better expression of love than securing your family’s future. Contact us today to begin creating your estate plan.