The probate process begins when a person passes away without a legal beneficiary. In this circumstance, the property and assets of the deceased must be appraised and divided per the determination of the court. Probate proceedings are notoriously difficult and expensive, and, depending on the complexity of the case, can last up to nine months. During this time, your loved ones must pay court fees out-of-pocket because they can’t access their inheritance.
Probate assets include, but are not limited to:
- Financial accounts
- Real estate
Drafting Your Estate Plan
The best way to avoid probate court is to create an estate plan with an estate planning attorney. An estate plan is designed to protect your assets from probate court and excessive estate taxes. It will legally establish your beneficiaries and designate your health care proxy. Also, your family will avoid probate court entirely if you transfer your property ownership rights into a revocable living trust.
An effective estate plan includes:
- Durable power of attorney
- Living will
Every so often you’ll want to meet with an estate planning lawyer to review your documents. Your estate plan will need to be updated whenever you experience significant life changes or accumulate new property and real estate. Because state and Federal tax laws change over time, having your estate plan documents reviewed every few years will ensure they take new laws into account.
Count on Us
Creating an estate plan is the only way to ensure your interests and your family are protected upon your passing. Our experienced Union County estate planning attorneys can help you create a complete and valid estate plan. Contact Bridges, Jillisky & Streng, LLC to schedule a free consultation and secure your future.
If you’re ready to create your estate plan, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC at (937) 403-9033!