As a probate attorney, I understand how difficult it can be to both plan for your future and to consider the inevitability of death. While no one wants to face this eventuality, life will eventually demand it. What you can do is prepare for it so that your estate and your family are in the best position possible. This is important because, upon your death, your family should be allowed to grieve, rather than deal with complex legal issues. Unfortunately, this is often the case, and the stress of the situation can drive a wedge between family members. You can help to prevent some of this conflict by planning ahead.
As an estate planning and probate attorney, I often recommend taking the time to set up a Living Trust. A Trust is an entity just like a person or a business. When you establish a Trust, you can transfer most of your assets to it while you are still alive. There can be explicit instructions for how the assets are to be kept or distributed and any assets that you transfer into the Trust will be exempt from the probate process upon your death.
What a probate attorney does?
As a probate attorney, I work with families (heirs) to take an estate through the probate process. This is done at the state level. The estate is presented to the court, and both creditors and heirs have the opportunity to make a claim. The court will generally designate funds to be paid to the creditors that make a legitimate claim. The funds that are left will be available for paying taxes and distribution to heirs. This is where much of the conflict comes in. If, for example, you have a vacation home and three children, they all may lay claim to the home, even if your will says otherwise. While a will is good for directing where your assets should go, the court will listen to arguments from your heirs and may make adjustments based on what they hear. This poses an issue because it can interfere with your wishes being carried out. When funds are moved into a Trust, they do not go through probate and this part of the process is largely avoided. There are, however, some assets that cannot be held in the Trust so in many cases the probate process is still necessary though only slightly. If you hire me as a probate attorney now, I can work to preserve your wishes by representing the estate after your passing.
A probate attorney can help to keep more money in the estate.
As an estate planning and probate attorney, I can also work with you to identify various strategies for saving your estate money in both taxes and fees that may be incurred after your death. I can help you to develop a sound legal strategy that ensures your wishes are protected both in life and in death.