Making a good estate plan is like securing your future. This shows the importance of estate planning. However, regardless of how crucial this plan is in the modern world we find ourselves, there are still lots of people out there who fail to secure their future and those of their loved ones by leveraging this plan. Some make wrong plans which leads to loss of assets or even long probate.
You may have written a will, but then you remember your will must pass through the probate process before your loved ones can inherit from you. Then you ask, “Why can’t they inherit without having to go through probate? Is probate really necessary?”
The answer is quite simple; probate can be avoided or simplified. Probate is necessitated by the manner in which you hold assets. The manner in which you hold or own your assets will determine if they are probatable or not. Typically, probate is only necessary when there are probatable assets in the decedent’s estate.
Plan with an estate planning attorney
Many people are yet to understand how important an estate planning attorney is. I guess that is why you often find people arguing about the importance of these professional in the estate planning process.
The truth remains that an estate planning attorney is key to creating a good estate plan more so to help you stay clear of probate issues.
- An Estate Planning Attorney can help you Update necessary estate planning documents:
If you still think an estate planning attorney is not important, here is something you should consider. Estate planning documents need to be updated frequently. For instance, when major changes occur in your family, you will definitely need to tweak your estate plan a bit to accommodate those changes. Who will help you do this? Of course, it is an estate planning attorney. These professionals are the best when it comes to updating estate planning documents.
- An estate planning Attorney will ensure that your estate plan adheres to current laws
Like other laws, estate planning laws changes. And what better way to create an estate plan that adheres to these laws than to hire an estate planning attorney?
Estate planning attorney are accustomed to the necessary laws, even the current ones. So, you’ll be sure that they’ll help you create an estate plan that conforms to the estate planning laws of your state or country.
- provide you with the best legal advice
When planning your estate, you will be required to make several important decisions. With the advice of an estate planning attorney, there is a huge chance that you won’t make decisions that would end up hurting you or those you care about.
Can probate be simplified or avoided altogether?
The truth is probate can be avoided. Trusts avoid probate by the fact that any asset funded into the trust takes up the name of the trust rather than that of the individual. Hence, such an asset will pass directly to the beneficiary named in the trust.
Assets held jointly with rights of survivorship, such as real property, will pass directly to the joint tenant outside probate. Obviously, the surviving joint owner or tenant will take claim of the property when you pass away. It goes without saying that the beneficiary is already known and valid so there is no need for probate.
In your life insurance, 401k, and ToD accounts, you already designated a beneficiary when creating them. So these assets will pass down to the designated beneficiary immediately you pass away, whether you write a will or not.
Create a Trust
A trust is simply a legal vehicle used in the transfer of assets. The trustor gives the trustee the right to hold the transferred assets for the benefit of a third party (beneficiary).
This legal document is key to creating an ideal estate plan. By creating a trust, you can save your loved ones the stress of passing through the difficult probate process. A trust lawyer or an estate planning lawyer can help you prepare this document.
Other estate document that can help you simply probate include;
Create health care directives
A health care directive can protect you in the event that you aren’t able to make certain health decisions yourself. This document is an important component of estate planning, thus, when creating an estate plan it is crucial that you state your wishes for health care.
Financial power of attorney
A financial power of attorney provides you with the opportunity to give a trusted person the right to oversee your finances and properties in the event that you become incapacitated. The person chosen is usually regarded as an agent or an attorney-in-fact. It is not necessary that you select an attorney as your attorney-in-fact. You can simply select someone who is genuine, familiar with your family, and trustworthy.