One of the most common misconceptions we hear from potential clients is that a Last Will and Testament will avoid the Probate process. It will not! Setting up a Will can have several important benefits. For instance, when you die, it will be known who will be in charge of your Estate, and you can distribute your assets according to your wishes.
However, many of your assets must still go through the process known as Probate, which involves opening a legal case and going through a series of bureaucratic steps. The typical, simple Probate takes around a year. This is a tedious process, with severe consequences when done incorrectly.
We are happy to help families handle the difficulties of Probate when it is necessary. In fact, Probate matters are our favorite cases – they require a significant amount of work, and are therefore the most lucrative part of our practice. Simply put, we are better off when clients select a simple Will, because their families will oftentimes hire us for their Probate matter. However, we feel it is our ethical obligation to explain the pros and cons of Wills vs. Trusts when our clients are planning ahead.
So, how do you avoid Probate? The first step is creating a Revocable Living Trust in addition to the essential Estate Planning documents. The Trust works hand in hand with your Will to help determine where your hard-earned money will be distributed, but has the added benefit of avoiding any reporting requirements to the court.
Next, you need to make sure that your hard-earned money and assets get placed in the Trust or will go into the Trust when you die. We provide our Trust clients with step-by-step instructions and guidance to complete this step.
So, who should have a Revocable Living Trust? Almost everyone who wants to avoid giving more burden to their loved ones. In addition to that, if you own a home, or have minor children or grandchildren, a Trust will help solve problems that you never knew existed.
Please keep in mind that the additional expenses of setting up a Trust up front will save your loved ones tens of thousands of dollars once you are gone. As is often the case, having something done right at the outset will save a lot of money and hassle on the other end.
If you would like help with your Estate Planning documents or to handle an uncontested Probate matter, schedule with us at 301-696-0567 (we have 24-hour representatives if you call after-hours), firstname.lastname@example.org, or self-schedule online at lenaclarklegal.com.
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