PROBATE AND ESTATE PLANNING OVERVIEW
Probate is the legal process in which a deceased’s property is distributed after submission of a petition to a court. If a will exists it must be proved during the probate procedure and if accepted as a valid public document, the true last testament of the deceased, it will determine the distribution of the assets of the deceased to the beneficiaries. If no will is in existence at the time of death or if the will is declared invalid the property will be distributed in accordance with the state law governing succession.
As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate administration. The process is formal and public. It involved identifying and inventorying the property, appraisals of assets, payment of debts and taxes and finally the distribution of the property. A person will be appointed by will if nobody is appointed by will or a will is not in existence, the court will appoint a representative.
Some individuals now use trusts to distribute their property to their loved ones in a less formal way. This is called estate planning. Trusts can be used during life of the person distributing the his or her assets or with effect upon death of the person distributing his or her property.
Because Trusts can distribute the property during the lifetime of the testator/settlor (the person who own the assets to be distributed) it can also be used in case such a testator/settlor becomes legally incapable. This is an advantage for cases when you want to have guidelines on how you want your property to be distributed in case you become incapable of managing it.
MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WILLS AND TRUSTS
Couple With Wills & Single Revocable Trust
Single Person With Will & Trust
If you want to avoid probate and reduce taxes you should proceed with estate planning.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU:
- Probate and trust consultation and planning: drafting of living wills, asset protection trust, revocable living trust, irrevocable trusts, organization of assets among other services.
- Probate and trust litigation: estate litigation, petition to modify trust, petition to remove trustee, probation petition for wills, wills and trusts contests, petition to determine succession to real property, spousal/domestic partner property petition, motions, notices and affidavits to transfer assets.