How An Attorney Can Help With Probate, Estate And Trust Administration
When a person passes away, all of their assets need to be distributed to someone else. The method of distributing those assets depends on a number of factors, including whether the individual had a will, trust, or some other kind of estate plan, or whether the individual died without an estate plan (or intestate).
The method of distributing assets to successor beneficiaries is called administering an estate, and it can be much easier if you have the help of a skilled lawyer. The Law Offices of Mary L. Symons can help with this process in many different ways. Ms. Symons has experience with all kinds of post-death administration, including probate, trust administration and simplified administration procedures.
What Can An Estate Plan Do?
If someone dies without a valid will, trust or another estate planning document, the court decides how to distribute their assets using predetermined guidelines. Unfortunately, these guidelines have nothing to do with your wishes and can lead to situations in which distant relatives inherit everything while close companions are left with nothing.
Ultimately, an estate plan is the best way to prevent such an event from happening. Creating a valid estate plan is your opportunity to:
- Create a trust to avoid a conservatorship if you become incapacitated during your lifetime and to avoid probate after your death
- Execute a financial directive, which, in combination with your trust, sets forth who is in charge of your estate if you are incapacitated
- Execute an Advanced Health Care Directive, which will tell your family members and doctors know what decisions to make if you are in a devastating accident or are unable to communicate your wishes
- Ensure an appropriate guardian is established for your minor children
- Minimize taxes on your estate when your assets pass to beneficiaries
Creating an estate plan not only protects some of your assets from the probate process but it can also protect your privacy and speed up the administration of your estate. However, one of the most important things an estate plan can do is bring peace of mind to your loved ones and answer their questions when they’re grieving their loss.
Can You Avoid Probate?
There is no easy answer to this, but there are certainly ways you can protect your assets from probate. One of the ways in which you can do this is by establishing a revocable trust.
To create a revocable trust, an individual transfers assets to themselves as trustee and names a successor trustee. The advantage of this is that you can move assets in and out of the trust throughout your lifetime as your situation changes. You can also amend the trust at any time and you can revoke the trust, or end it, if it is no longer a good fit for your circumstances. At the time of your death, the assets in the trust are not subject to probate and the successor trustee is in charge of distributing or holding them per your wishes.
The best way to determine how to protect your assets from probate is by getting in touch with the Law Offices of Mary L. Symons today.
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The Law Offices of Mary L. Symons represents individuals and their families in San Rafael, California, Marin County and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.