Last Will and Testament Probate
Many people are confused about the last will and testament probate process. One cause of confusion is individuals often believe if they write a Will their estate won't have to endure the probate process. Others believe they don't have to engage in estate planning because they do not own anything of value.
The purpose of a last will and testament probate is to expedite the process and ensure heirs receive the property gifted to them. If a person dies without providing written instructions in their Will then all their property will be distributed in accordance with state probate laws.
There are pros and cons associated with probate. It is always best to work with a qualified estate planner to determine which strategies are best suited for your personal situation. Since the probate process varies by state it's important to look at every available option to protect assets and lessen estate and inheritance taxes.
A last Will is needed regardless of the type of estate planning strategies used. This document provides directives regarding the people who will inherit your property. It is also used to designate a probate personal representative who is responsible for reconciling your estate. Additionally, Wills are needed to establish legal guardianship for children or adults in your care.
Preparing a Will offers many advantages including reducing estate tax and making things easier for heirs. Family members are often grief-stricken over the loss of their loved ones. Having to deal with a probated estate that wasn't protected with a Will can be a nightmare during an already difficult time.
Writing a Will is not difficult and can save loved ones a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of how much or little you own it is important to establish safeguards so heirs can easily reconcile your estate without spending a fortune in attorney fees.
The probate process begins when the designated personal representative files the Will through probate court. A few states require representatives to acquire a financial bond before engaging in estate settlement duties. Therefore, it's best to seek guidance from a probate lawyer to ensure proper protocol is followed.
Estate agents will also need to file a death notice in local newspapers. This is necessary to provide a public record and terminate the time for which debtors and creditors can file claims against the estate.
The last will and testament is probated in the jurisdiction where the decedent resided. If decedents owned titled property in more than one state and it has not been transferred to a trust than probate might have to occur in each location.
Most states provide exemptions for small estates which allow them to bypass probate as long as a Will is filed through the court. Another option for avoiding probate is to setup a revocable or irrevocable trust.
Due to the fact that estate planning strategies vary by state, it is smart to explore every available method. Doing so can significantly reduce stress when it comes time to settle your estate, as well as lessen taxes and ensure heirs receive the property you want to provide them.
We encourage you to review the Simon Volkov blog to learn more about last will and testament probate, trusts, living Wills, and power of attorney forms which can be used to safeguard your property and expedite the probate process.