What is an Estate?
At the mention of “An estate” the very first thing that would probably come to you mind would be an extensive area of loan in a certain country Well, sorry to disappoint you but we are talking about a different type of “estate “ here. The estate we are referring to here is not a piece of land but the net worth of an individual at any point in time. The individual can either be alive or dead. An estate comprises of all the possessions and assets of an individual. An asset comprises of houses, cars, insurance, stocks, etc.
An understanding of what an estate is, will help you get a little insight into what estate planning really entails.
What is Estate Planning?
AN estate plan is usually done when the estate owner is still alive. This plan which is primarily done to protect to protect your loved ones and secure their future, cover areas such as the management and distribution of you assets upon your death or incapacitation. By planning your estate, you are planning for a smooth transfer of your assets to the designated heirs upon your death. If you plan your estate will, the executor of your estate including the beneficiaries will not have to undergo the stressful probate process which can be quite expensive and time-consuiming,
What happens when you fail to Plan your Estate?
Though failure to plan your estate while alive remains one of the biggest blunders a person can make, we still find several people dying without an estate plan. Well, if you die without an estate plan which is meant to dictate how our assets are to be managed and shared, the government will take over. That is to say, all you worked for will be shared based on the intestate law of New York.
This process isn’t easy. It costs money and it can be very stressful. Your loved ones and family members will have to file a lawsuit to claim what they feel they are entitled to among your estate.
You shouldn’t wait till when you start approaching old age before you plan your estate, or before you start seeing those white hairs on your head. As soon as you clock the age of 18, you are eligible to plan your estate. You can plan your estate at any given age then update the plan as you get old. Another important thing you should note is that, estate planning isn’t only for the rich, it is for both the rich and the poor. You can plan your estate irrespective of how little your estate worth is. You shouldn’t wait till you are as rich as Jeff Bezos before you plan your estate.
Will and Probate Process
A will is a very significant legal document that holds the wish of the deceased regarding his or her estate. A will usually contain the names of the estate beneficiaries, the assets of the deceased, how the decedent wishes to be buried, how the deceased asset is to be shared among the designated beneficiaries, the name of the estate executor, etc.
An estate executor is an individual chosen by the estate owner to act as his or her representative. The duty of an estate executor is quite numerous, which is why it is advisable that you select a trustworthy and intelligent individual when selecting an estate executor.
The probate process is not easy, it is very stressful, it is expansive and it takes time. A probate process can take months, or even years depending on the circumstances surrounding the estate of the deceased. Probate is usually done for several reasons, and one of the most important reason is to find out the validity of a will.
Without the probate process, the assets of the deceased cannot be shared to the designated beneficiaries. If the estate owner created a trust, the probate process is not required; the assets of the deceased will be shared without much paperwork or trouble.
It is usually the duty of the estate executor to handle the probate process. He or she can either do this alone or with the assistance of a probate attorney. If you need a competent probate attorney to help you plan your estate, you can contact us.