Estate Planning Basics
Having a proper will or trust will help ensure that your estate passes to the right people. Without these documents, the court or state will decide how your assets will be divided up. In addition, you can name the guardian(s) of your children in your will if you and your spouse die before they become adults. Trusts can protect assets from being spent too quickly by your children or grandchildren after you are gone. Powers of attorney can save your family from having to get a court order to manage your estate if you become incompetent. Health care proxies will let your doctors know who can decide the best treatment for you if you are unconscious. In addition, proper planning can help you reduce or avoid estate taxes, leaving more of your money to your family.
Probate is the legal process of settling your estate. This can be a very emotional time for your family, and we strive to make it as easy as possible for them.
If you die with a will (testate), the executor you appoint will be in charge of your estate. If you die without a will (intestate), the court will appoint someone to settle your estate. That person is called the administrator. During probate, the executor or administrator of your estate will be responsible for inventorying all of your assets, paying all the claims, filing the necessary tax documents, providing a financial report, and distributing your assets. We help guide your executor or administrator through all the necessary steps and help ensure that they are done in a timely manner.
Because our practice areas include real estate law, business law, and family law, we can help your executor or administrator with other aspects of settling an estate, such as selling your real property, transferring or selling your business assets, or settling family disputes.
For a compassionate and knowledgeable probate attorney and estate-planning attorney, please don't hesitate to contact us today.