Probate & Estate Planning
When a friend or family member dies with a will or dies without a will or any estate planning, how are the deceased person's assets transferred?
WHAT IS PROBATE?
Probate is a procedure that is designed to provide for an orderly transfer of a deceased person's assets to his or her family or other beneficiaries. This sometimes happens through a will. If the deceased person did not make any estate plans, his or her assets will pass to his or her heirs through state legislative imposed general default rules for how a deceased person's assets are transferred.
When a person dies, the chances of the theft or misuse of the deceased person's property increases because there may be no one with proper authority to gather and safeguard the assets of the deceased person.
A properly and promptly filed probate will help to protect against the improper taking or use of the assets of a deceased person. It will also help to make sure that the assets of the deceased person go to the person, persons or entities who the deceased person wanted to have his or her assets.
WHAT IS A TRUST?
A trust is another type of estate planning device. Similar to a will, it provides a set of instructions as to who a deceased person wanted to have his or her assets upon death.
DO I NEED TO FILE A PROBATE?
Often a probate or some sort of procedure is necessary to transfer over a deceased person's assets to the person, persons or entities who is lawfully entitled to receive them.
Sometimes a deceased person may have assets which may need certain treatment outside of a probate or trust in order to have the assets transferred to the proper individuals who are lawfully entitled to receive them.
WHAT IF THERE IS A DISPUTE IN A PROBATE OR TRUST OR IF SOMEONE IMPROPERLY TAKES ASSETS?
Sometimes disputes arise over the terms of a will or trust. Sometimes disputes arise over the validity or authenticity of a will. Sometimes disputes arise over who is an heir of a deceased person. Sometimes someone improperly takes assets of a deceased person. What happens then?
It is necessary to take proper legal action to protect the assets of the deceased person for the benefit of the person, persons or entities who are lawfully entitled to receive them.
Probate is complicated without disputes or improperly taken assets. A probate involving disputes or improperly taken assets makes it even more complicated. I routinely handle contested and uncontested probates. I will help you to preserve his or her estate for proper distribution to the lawfully entitled persons.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE DIES?
After the death of a friend or loved one, it is best to contact an experienced attorney to help you to understand the process and to determine what should be done to safeguard the deceased person's assets and properly transfer them to the persons lawfully entitled to receive them. I have handled uncontested probates, contested probates, and trusts for nearly 25 years.
Call me so that I can discuss the circumstances with you and promptly assist you.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is a series of decisions, choices and actions that are made by you to express to others what your preferences, wishes and directions are for your personal care and for the disposition of your assets in the event you become unable to make those decisions for yourself or if you die.
What if I become unable to Make Decisions Or Care for Myself?
Sometimes a person is appointed by a court to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so.
This person is called a guardian. In the absence of any directions from you, a court alone will choose who to appoint as your guardian. However, you can choose to nominate the person or persons that you choose and want to serve as your guardian in the event you become unable to properly take care of yourself or your property.
Is there anything else I can do? Yes. You can also reduce the likelihood that a guardian will ever need to be appointed by creating additional estate planning documents that, in the event you are unable to do so, allows a trusted friend or family member to make decisions for you and your property. These documents
* POWER OF ATTORNEY
* LIVING WILL
* LIVING TRUST
How Do I Make Directions for What I Want to Happen To My Property When I Die?
There are several ways you can leave directions for who you want to receive your property upon your death and to decide what you want to happen to your property when you are gone. These include the following different methods:
* LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
* LIVING TRUST
* Lifetime transfers or designations of beneficiary
There is no specific method that is appropriate for each person as each person's circumstances will vary.
Contact me for a consultation regarding the options that are available to you based upon your circumstances
and your preferences. You can then decide what method is right for you.