Estate Planning and Probate Legal Services
Do You Need Estate Planning?
Everyone should have an estate plan. Your estate plan may involve a simple will or it may be quite complicated involving the use of trusts, life-time transfers, etc. The more assets you acquire during your lifetime the greater the need for an estate plan but everyone needs at least a will. Without a will, if a probate is needed your assets will be distributed pursuant to the state's intestacy laws and not your intentions. A will does not create the need for a probate but is there in case a probate is required.
|What Happens When Someone Dies?|
When a person passes away the first questions to be asked is what did they own at the time of their death? If they don't own any assets no probate is needed. If they owned assets but they were owned in a way that their interest automatically transferred their interest no probate is needed (for example, holding property as joint tenants). If they own assets that do not automatically transfer at death, a probate will be needed to transfer their interest. If probate is necessary, a Will directs the probate court as to the intentions of the deceased as to how the assets are to be distributed. This is called a Testate Probate. If there is no Will, the probate court looks to the intestacy laws of the state to determine how the assets will be distributed. This is called an Intestate Probate.
When a person passed away, we review their assets to determine if a probate is necessary and,if necessary, we determine what type of probate is needed. Is there a Will? How many and what types of assets need to be probated? Are there liabilities that need to be paid? Not all probate are the same in terms of cost or length of time needed to complete. We often can provide flat fee options and can provide options where the asset can be sold prior to the probate actually being completed.