The last will or last will and testament is the most commonly used vehicle of asset transfer in the field of estate planning. Years ago, the testament portion was used to distribute personal property, and the will was utilized to distribute real property. However, at the present time, a will is typically used to transfer both types of property.
If you use a last will to state your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets, you name an executor or personal representative. This is the person who will administer your estate after you pass away.
You may imagine the executor distributing property immediately after your passing. However, things do not work in this fashion. Before the heirs receive their inheritances, the executor must admit the will to probate.
Probate is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of the probate court. The court examines the will to make sure that it is properly executed, and anyone who wants to challenge the validity of the will could make an argument during probate.
Final debts must be paid during probate, and this includes final taxes. Ultimately, the executor prepares the estate for distribution to the heirs during the probate process. This can involve appraisals and liquidation of property.
It can take a considerable amount of time for probate to run its course. The exact duration of the process will depend on the circumstances. In most areas, a simple and uncontested case can be probated in a little bit less than a year. This can seem like a lot of time when you are waiting for a much-needed inheritance.
More complicated cases can take considerably longer, and this can cause long-term hardships.
Timely Asset Transfers
It is possible to get assets into the hands of your loved ones in a more timely manner. Revocable living trusts are very popular among people who want to facilitate efficient asset transfers.
When you create a revocable living trust, you can act as the trustee while you are living. You name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you pass away.
After your death, the successor trustee will follow instructions that you leave behind in the trust agreement and distribute assets to the beneficiaries. These distributions would not be subject to the process of probate. As a result, your heirs would receive their inheritances shortly after your passing if there were no complications.
Free Probate Report
You should certainly understand the process of probate when you are making estate planning decisions. If you would like to educate yourself, download our in-depth special report.
This report is being offered free of charge, and you can access your copy through this page: Ashland KY Probate Information.