What Legacy Will You Leave Future Generations?
Are you confident that your final wishes regarding your estate will be handled exactly the way you intend? You have the power to protect your legacy and provide your family with peace of mind by creating a plan for your estate and your assets. You’ve probably heard of wills and trusts but don’t really know how they work and what advantages they provide. If that describes you, don’t worry; you’re far from alone.
Losing a loved one is a sad and difficult time for family, relatives, and friends. In addition, those left behind must often figure out how to transfer or inherit property from the person who has died. The property that a person leaves behind when they die is called the “decedent’s estate.” The “decedent” is the person who died. Their “estate” is the property they owned when they died.
A person’s estate is considered the net worth of a person at any point in time. Net worth can be summed up as a person’s assets (property of any kind, legal rights, interests) less liabilities. To plan for the disposal of an estate, wills, trusts and power of attorney are typically established. Doing so reduces uncertainties about the estate’s distribution and helps maximize the estate’s value by decreasing taxes and other expenses.
The validity of a will or trust can also be contested. Disputes often arise during trust and estate matters, and they can be difficult to resolve due to the close personal connections between the interested parties. Litigation may be necessary in some cases. This would mean that the will or trust would go into probate.
Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:
- Deciding if a will exists and is valid;
- Figuring out who are the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries;
- Figuring out how much the decedent’s property is worth;
- Taking care of the decedent’s financial responsibilities; and
- Transferring the decedent’s property to the heirs or beneficiaries.
In a probate case, an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all under the supervision of the court.
If you or your family members are involved in a dispute relating to trust or estate administration, get in touch with one of our attorneys right away. We understand how difficult this process can be and will work closely with you to make it easier on you. Our goal is to get you through this process as effectively and painlessly as possible. All calls and emails will be addressed rapidly, and we will keep you informed regarding the status of your estate plan or administration.