A common misconception among people who have a Last Will and Testament is that it helps avoid probate, and it is easy to see why there is so much confusion. After all, a valid Will is supposed to give you control over how your assets are distributed and final wishes are carried out. With so much power in your hands, even in death, there should not be a need for the probate court to get involved. Right? Well, not exactly. Having a Will still does not help avoid probate.
While hearing this may feel like a punch to the gut, please remember that you have taken an important first step toward protecting your legacy and family’s future. You should be commended! Furthermore, the good news is that beyond your Will, you have additional estate planning options at your disposal if you still want to avoid probate.
First Things First: Why Would Anyone Want to Avoid Probate?
Probate is often a necessary step for many estates. When a person dies — with or without a Will — the court makes a formal record of their assets and lays out ground rules for how claims will be resolved and how assets are distributed to family members. It is meant to be a helping hand during a confusing time for many families. With that said, probate gets a bad rap for being confusing, drawn-out, and emotional for everyone involved.
People dislike it because:
- These cases can get emotional — Emotions run the gamut anytime there is a dispute over the distribution of a loved one’s assets. Even if there are no disputes among family, the feeling of not having control can be difficult for some to handle.
- Probate can be a long process — You made a wise decision to have a Will in place. In cases where there is no Will, property and other valuables can be tied up for months until the court decides how and when it will proceed.
- Probate can be expensive — Expenses can include probate attorney fees, court fees, etc., all of which can continue to balloon as a case drags out or involves other complexities. Many times, the fees are pulled from the estate itself.
Is Avoiding Probate Impossible?
No. It is very possible to avoid probate. But you cannot do it with a Will alone.
This is where a Living Trust can help.
The Living Trust serves the same purpose as a Will in that it is meant to help distribute property and assets. It is a very flexible and important legal document that may be customized the way you want according to your concerns and requirements. But whereas a Will is a public document that still must be validated through the probate process, a Living Trust is a private document and cannot be held under the same microscope.
Therefore, any property listed under the umbrella of a Living Trust is protected and can be transferred to the various beneficiaries by the successor trustee. Furthermore, the clauses of the living trust can be followed as soon as it is written. And in case of deteriorating mental health, it automatically transfers the responsibility of your estate.
You do not have to go to court for that purpose, either.
There are many more benefits to a Living Trust, and our team of estate planning attorneys at Nelson Law Group, PC, will be happy to explain them to you. All you have to do is schedule a free consultation with us today!
We constantly caution existing and prospective clients about the dangers of neglecting their estate planning strategies, which can include getting stuck in a long, drawn-out probate process. Simply put, everyone needs to have a plan in place for the day they die or become incapacitated, and getting it done sooner rather than later is always best.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
When it comes to protecting your family’s future for years down the road, it is imperative to have an estate planning attorney in your corner at all times. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any questions. Our staff is always available.
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