Probate is essentially court supervised distribution of your estate. In my opinion, you should avoid this unnecessary expense and delay at all costs. The basic steps are as follows:
- You file the deceased person’s will with the local probate court.
- The court must next prove the will valid to hopefully avoid fraud.
- You must take an inventory of the deceased person’s property.
- You must have that property appraised.
- The court will supervise and order the paying of legal debts, taxes, etc.
- Eventually, the court will allow the deceased person’s estate to be distributed to beneficiaries.
Please take note that steps 1 through 6 above are avoided entirely with a Living Trust!
What are the other benefits of a Living Trust?
There are many other benefits of a Living Trust and here are just a few:
- You can avoid the need for a court supervised Conservatorship by naming a person to take over if you are incapacitated or mentally incompetent. Take my word for it; you don’t ever want to be a Conservator. Conservatorships are very expensive, intrusive, and a big time-consuming hassle because you have to make regular court appearances and account for every penny you spend. In my opinion, the Conservatorship represents a failure to properly plan your estate with the necessary legal documents.
- Your estate plan remains confidential. Nothing gets filed with the court. By contrast, a Will, if subject to probate, is filed with the probate court and is a public record.
- You are not locked into anything and can change or amend your trust at any time, provided you are competent to do so. This means you can change beneficiaries, successor trustees, etc, whenever you like.
- You can name someone to manage trust property for young beneficiaries and avoid the unnecessary expense of a court appointed guardian. This is important in some cases because minors cannot legally control significant amounts of property. A properly drafted Living Trust takes care of this concern.
What’s the next step?
The next step is easy! Call my office today for a free consultation and we will discuss your estate planning needs.