Estate Planning and Probate

Estate Planning and Probate

Estate planning gives people a legal way of arranging their affairs after they die so they can control the distribution of their property, name a guardian of their choice for their children, minimize tax liabilities and accomplish other important goals. Everyone has a unique set of circumstances, so estate planning can include a variety of directions, from creating a simple will, to more complicated living trusts. Estate Planning can also include medical and mental health advance directives, which provide direction to your heirs in case you are mentally or physically incapacitated or unable to decide things for yourself.

Estate planning is important for everyone. Whether you have minor children, property (especially in different states), or even modest assets, choices you make today can spare your family a legacy of confusion. If you have minor children and you die without a will, they might be placed in an inappropriate home.

Without a living trust, property would have to goes through a process called probate. Probate is a legal process where a personal representative takes over your property and pays debts, then distributes what’s left. Probate can be a long and expensive process.

Even people with modest estates often set up trusts for their heirs so they can avoid probate. If you own real estate with equity, a small business or other significant property, such as automobiles, setting up a trust may be right for you.

Estate planning overlaps with elder law in many instances, and can the long term care you will receive should you become incapacitated.