Many people have no idea what estate planning entails. I understand; most of them are my age, in their mid-twenties, and have been fortunate enough not to have suffered a parent’s untimely death.
Nonetheless, knowing the three critical methods for administering properties following a loved one’s death is useful information to have on hand. It will help you when worrying about your own money, in addition to giving you an understanding of the logistics behind a very emotionally exhausting moment.
Before searching for ‘trust attorney near me,’ know the differences between Will, Probate, and Trust and what would happen if you do nothing.
Most of your savings would need to be probated if you die without having done enough to arrange for it (i.e., no will, no trust). What exactly does that imply? The trustee (the person in charge of overseeing all your properties: usually the nearest living relative) would need to be supervised by a judge at the Probate Courts as the assets are passed out of your name and into the terms of your heirs.
But who will inherit from you if you die without a will or a trust?
The Probate Code will determine how your properties are distributed. State lawmakers attempted to predict how the average citizen would want their properties distributed after they died. That is, if you have a partner and a child, you would almost certainly want to split your assets 50/50.
If you didn’t have a partner or children, for example, you would like your belongings to go to your parents, assuming they outlived you. That’s good if you have a “normal” family, but intestacy results can be unwelcome when you don’t fit the mold.
So now that you’ve arrived at this part, you’re thinking to yourself, “Good, writing a Will is a lot better than doing nothing.” While there is some validity to that assertion, it isn’t quite as strong as you would think.
You, not the state legislature, will be entitled to determine who gets your money in your Will. A Will, on the other hand, would not get you out of Probate. The Will’s sole purpose is to give the Judge guidance for what can be given to whom. The fees and length of the Probate process remain unchanged.
You may, however, appoint the executor of the estate and make them work without bond, which would save you money.
This is your way out of Probate, the glorious legal document known as the Trust.
You establish it over your lifetime and determine who gets what – you also get to decide when (not before you reach the age of 30) and how it is administered (give outright or give in different types of trusts offering various protections). Your family and friends will not have to go through the trouble of opening Probate to move title until you pass away. Your replacement trustee (the person you named in the Trust) will meet with Trust Administration Attorney who specializes in this area to begin a process known as “Trust Administration.”
Hopefully, this will serve as a decent starting point for understanding the primary options available when transferring money.