Part two of two parts on Probate and Estate Planning (continued from August 24)
In our earlier post on Probate we defined Probate for you and gave you some examples of how an estate is settled in the courts. Again, Probate is designed as a protective tool for families, but Probate does have drawbacks, not the least of which is loss of privacy.
Another critical factor – often overlooked – is the fulfillment of the wishes of the deceased: it may be that he or she wanted to leave this or that to an heir (or heirs), but the documents in place at time of death were not specific enough, or perhaps were contested in Probate.
However, there are ways to avoid Probate that deserve a serious look. Again, we’re not saying that Probate is bad…
But we are saying this:
It’s not just about avoiding Probate so you can “stay out of the courts.” It’s really about control over the fate of your estate … and the future well being of your loved ones.
This is where Estate Planning comes into play – and why a plan that is designed just for you can actually save money (such as taxes) in the long run … for you or your spouse, and for the loved ones that you want to provide for after your death.
Back to control, and your loved ones’ future …
A legally-enforceable Estate Plan, and planning tools such as a Living Trust, can provide you with:
- Protection of your assets – in your lifetime and beyond
- A plan that can be tailored to very specific individuals, even one by one, who you want to honor with an inheritance
- Disbursements of certain assets over time, for the benefit of certain heirs
- Privacy in the settlement of your estate; no Probate
- Customized options that take into consideration today’s changing family structures
- Someone who you appoint to handle your affairs later on
- Peace of mind, knowing your wishes will be fulfilled
Estate Planning, of course, is something that needs to be handled by an attorney who is trained in Estate Planning. With the proper Plan, you’ll not only avoid Probate, but have a Plan that you’ll be proud of.