We have all seen it on TV or heard about a well-to-do individual who unexpectedly dies without leaving a valid will, trust, or estate plan consequently leaving the court to dictate how the deceased’s assets are distributed to his or her living heirs. When individuals pass away without leaving an official will, their property or estate must be distributed according to the rules of intestacy where only married, civil partners, immediate children or some other close relatives can inherit the property.
Protecting Your Assets
However, if someone has a will, but it is not legally valid, probate will decide how the assets are divided and not the wishes stated in the will. Which is why you need an estate planning attorney who can help you in creating an estate plan, among other things such as avoiding probate and reducing estate taxes. It is also important to seek the advice of an estate planning attorney to ensure that your beneficiaries are protected from creditor problems, bad decision making or outside influences.
Having someone in charge after you die will also protect your assets from unexpected creditors and go a long way towards avoiding family feuds and costly probate court proceedings. It’s important to have probate lawyer so that your family members can have some security in the event of your passing, especially when you fear that disputes may arise from the disposition of property.
After all the, it is the probate lawyer who prepares and files a petition for the final will distribution. He or she can also liaise with your attorney to handle non-probate issues that require legal attention, such as obtaining payment of life insurance, payment of annuities as well as handling subsidiary probate if any property is owned in another state.
Common Estate Planning Myths:
Are you a victim of the following estate planning myths and misconceptions?
I’m Too Young for Estate Planning
Someone as young as 20 years can have a will. Therefore, starting your estate planning while you’re still young and keeping it updated regularly will keep your assets free from legal complications in the event of incapacity or death.
I Don’t Need an Attorney to do Probate
You do because the procedural requirements for probates are complex and handing the task of preparing a detailed estate plan to a personal representative will alleviate an enormous burden on you. Besides, your estate planning documents rendered invalid due to errors when you do it yourself.
I’m not Wealthy
All adults who have children or own any property or assets should plan for incapacity and death regardless of the value of their estate.
The Court Can Correct a Bias Will
Even if a will benefits one person or sibling more than the other, the court is not authorized to revise a deceased Will provided he or she executed a valid will in the first place. You may also have a revocable living trust, however, making a will is the best way to transfer guardianship of minors.
Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com. To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.