People work hard, play hard and hope to have some cash and assets available when they retire. We usually don’t spend much time pondering our passing. However, it is important to consider this in order to make sure our families and loved ones are taken care of after our death.
Estate planning is the process of protecting our assets and ensuring our property is distributed in the way we intend following our death. There are various types of wills and trusts that can be tailored to fit just about any situation. An experienced probate and estate planning lawyer will help your family map out an estate strategy.
What is Your Estate?
An estate basically consists of everything you own, such as land, vehicles, jewelry, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets. At the time of death, your estate will be administered or settled within a court-supervised probate process. Your property will be distributed according to your Last Will and Testament. If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the law of the state where you reside at the time of your death. Any debts or taxes must be paid before any heirs can receive their inheritance.
After your death, the executor you name to administer your estate must gather all necessary s such as your Will, trusts and burial instructions. If probate court is necessary, the attorney that assisted in the planning of your estate should then be contacted. If there was no legal adviser used to help plan your estate, the executor would still be wise to find a lawyer who is experienced in probate law.
The Lawyer’s Role
Probate lawyers guide the executor and beneficiaries through probate proceedings and will represent them in probate court. They will also help locate and secure all of the deceased’s assets and advise the executor and beneficiaries of all rights and legal aspects within the probate process.
A probate lawyer will also file all necessary court s. They will offer guidance regarding tax issues, title changes, outstanding payments and the sale of property among, and any other activities necessary to complete the settlement of an estate.
It is not an easy time for those left behind after the death of a loved one. But a good probate attorney can help ease a family’s burden and minimize any conflict or confusion within the probate process.
This blog is written and published by Godbey & Associates.