Regardless of a person’s age, it is never too early to hire an estate lawyer. Proper planning is the right way to ensure the family is protected and wishes are followed after a person’s death. Probate is the legal process by which a decedent’s estate is resolved, and it involves gathering assets, paying taxes, and distributing the remainder to a person’s heirs.
The Probate Process Can be Lengthy
Probate is handled by an estate representative who is sometimes referred to as an executor. A person’s will can choose a personal representative or the probate court may select someone. Either way, when someone takes on the role of estate executor, they acquire the responsibility of resolving a decedent’s debts, paying their taxes, distributing assets, and finalizing the estate.
Trusts and Wills are Beneficial, But They Can Also be Complex
A will or a trust can expedite the probate process and, in some cases, it can help families avoid it entirely. For example, not all of a decedent’s assets are included in the process of probate. For instance, a retirement account or life insurance policy is paid to a designated beneficiary, and various securities and financial accounts can be set to transfer on the holder’s death with no necessary intervention from the court. If a property is owned in joint tenancy or as a survivorship, it is transferred to the other owner upon one owner’s passing. If assets or money are included in a living trust, it is distributed or maintained according to the trust’s conditions rather than those of the probate court.
Call an Attorney for Probate, Will, Trust and Estate Advice
If someone owns a home, is married and has children, or has additional assets that require distribution, they should consult one of the area’s probate attorneys regardless of their age. Drafting a will or creating a trust can be complex, and consulting an attorney is a sensible first step. If a person has not yet created a will, there’s no time like the present. Call a local probate attorney to learn more about the process or to schedule a free consultation.