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Common Estate Planning And Probate Questions

Creating a plan for your possessions and assets after your death is important for ensuring that your survivors are taken care of after you pass away. Due to a mixture of inexperience with this type of planning and the complexities that can be involved with estate planning, it is common for individuals to feel overwhelmed, confused, and stressed by this process.

Develop A Strategy For Minimizing The Need For Probate

When an individual leaves behind a will, the estate will need to go through the probate court system. These courts will ensure that the death is certified and that a suitable executor is in place and will hear disputes. Unfortunately, the process of a case moving through the probate courts is extremely slow, and this can cause significant delays in your loved ones receiving the assets that you left to them.

To help individuals avoid this delay, there are strategies that may be used to bypass the need to go through the probate courts. This can be done through the use of legal entities such as living trusts. These entities will continue to exist after you pass away. As a result, you may be able to avoid the need for probate by placing your important assets under the control of these entities. Once you pass away, these assets will be distributed according to your last wishes.  

Choose An Executor For Your Estate

The person that oversees the distribution of your assets will face immense responsibilities. As a result, you will need to put great thought into the person that you choose to name for this task. While you may be tempted to name a family member or close friend to this task, it can put an additional burden on them as they deal with the impact of your passing. A better option may be to retain a professional executor or have your attorney oversee this aspect of your final arrangements.

Understand The Role Debts Can Play In Your Estate

When you are considering the way that you want your assets to be distributed, you may primarily focus on the specific items that you want to leave to your loved ones. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that your creditors will still be entitled to repayment. In many states, secured debts must be settled before the remaining assets can be distributed to the survivors. If you are concerned about the amount of debt you have interfering with your inheritance plans, it might be possible to use a life insurance policy with your estate as a benefactor to settle these debts so that your prized assets will be safe to be given to your survivors.

For more information and help with your estate planning, talk with a probate lawyer or wills lawyer.