When you plan your estate, you express your final wishes concerning how you want your assets to be distributed after you are gone. This can seem like the long and short of it, but there is another aspect that you should take into consideration when you are creating your plan.
Serving as a buffer during disputes
Despite people’s best intentions, families often fight when someone dies. Probate and related proceedings often end up in disputes, including contests of wills and trusts, construction (interpretation) of wills and trusts, disputed ownership, claims for debts or services rendered, division of personal property, proceedings to retrieve assets from individuals who received them improperly, and other areas too numerous to list.
In those instances where family members don’t all get along, we can act as a buffer. If a contest arises, we try to settle it to our clients’ satisfaction.
Probate and the Role of the Executor
If you use a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you will name an executor in the document. This is the person that would take care of the hands-on administration tasks after you pass away. Under New York State laws, the executor would not be able to act independently.
Unless it is a very small estate, the will would be admitted to probate, and the Surrogate’s Court would supervise during the administration process. Final debts would be paid, and the executor would identify the assets and prepare them for eventual distribution to the heirs.
Because of the nature of the job, it is essential to pick an executor that can handle these financial-related tasks. You should also consider the person’s age that you name as the executor, and of course, you should make sure they are willing to take on the task.
Most executors do not have any experience working with the Surrogate’s Court. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, you could arrange for our firm to help your executor when the time comes. If we work with you to establish the plan, we will be in an ideal position to guide the executor through the process.
Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help.
Probate serves a purpose because creditors are given a chance to seek payment, and the court examines the will to make sure that it is valid. At the same time, it can be problematic for the rightful heirs to an estate.
The waiting game is one major drawback. It will take a minimum of nine months, and no inheritances can be distributed during this time.
Several expenses pile up during the process. Plus, the general public can access probate records. Anyone interested can find out the details, and this loss of privacy is not very appealing to most people.
A living trust can be the ideal alternative to a last will for many different reasons. One of them is the simple fact that assets in the trust can be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
If you establish a revocable living trust, you will act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust agreement, you would name a successor trustee to take over after you pass away, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries.
Since the trust would own all or most of the estate’s assets, the administration process would be streamlined for the trustee. You could include a pour-over will that would allow the trust to become the owner of assets in your direct possession at the time of your death.
Once again, we can be called upon to help out when the time comes if your family needs some trust administration assistance. We can advise the trustee about the legal steps that must be taken to administer the trust properly.
A living trust is one of many different types of trusts used in the field of estate planning. If you use a different trust, we can provide the same assistance level when it is being administered.
Take Action Now!
Since you are on this site, you must be interested in putting an estate plan in place. As they say, there is no time like the present. We know that it is difficult to discuss these personal matters with someone you have just met, and we take our relationships with our clients to heart.
When you choose our firm, you will get personalized attention from someone that cares. If you are ready to set the wheels in motion, give us a call at 443-554-9944 or use our contact form to send us a message.