What is probate?
This is a legal process that will often come into play when assets are being transferred after someone passes away. The probate court provides supervision during the estate administration process.
So a last will must go through probate?
If you were to create a last will, you would name an executor to serve as the administrator. This individual or entity would not have the ability to act independently. The will would be admitted to probate, and the court would determine its validity and supervise the proceedings.
It should be noted that assets cannot be distributed to the heirs that are named in the will until the estate has been probated and closed by the court.
How long does probate take?
There are variables with regard to complexities or lack thereof, but generally speaking, the timeframe would typically be between eight months and a year.
The waiting game does not sound very appealing. Are there any other probate drawbacks?
Probate expenses can be considerable. There are court costs, attorney fees, accounting charges, liquidation and appraisal expenses, and other incidentals. These expenditures reduce the amount of the inheritances that will eventually be received by the heirs.
Are all asset transfers subject to probate?
No, there are several different forms of transfers that take place outside of probate. These would include transfers to beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts and payable on death accounts.
Insurance policy proceeds would fit into this category as well, along with property that is held in joint tenancy.
Is there a proactive strategy that you can implement to avoid probate?
Yes, you could utilize a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan instead of a last will. Assets in the trust would be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes after your passing, and the probate court would not be involved.
If there is no probate, how does the administration process work?
The terms that you set forth in the trust declaration are legally binding, so that is the inherent protection that is in place for all interested parties.
When it comes to the hands-on tasks, the trustee serves as the administrator. If you establish a revocable living trust, you could act as the trustee while you are alive and well.
In the trust declaration, you would name a successor trustee to assume the trust administration duties after you are gone. You could also empower this person or entity or someone else to administer the trust if you ever reach the point where you can no longer make sound decisions.
What “entity” can serve as a living trust trustee?
There are professionals that provide fiduciary services, and this can be the right choice if you want to be absolutely certain that the trust is properly managed. In addition to the money management and legal expertise, there would be no conflicts of interest, and no longevity concerns.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you would like to establish a turnkey estate planning strategy that includes the administration aspect, we would be more than glad to help. Should you choose to utilize a living trust, our firm can step in to act as the successor trustee after you pass away.
When you work with us to originally establish the trust, we will gain a thorough understanding of your resources, your family dynamic, and your objectives. We will then be perfectly positioned to deliver the appropriate fiduciary services when the time comes.
You can schedule a consultation to discuss these matters if you give us a call at 775-823-9455, and there is a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.