When you pass away, and you do not plan properly, your estate may require a costly and time-consuming legal process called probate to distribute your assets. This process can take 6-9 months to complete because the court needs time to appraise your estate and validate your will. Your “estate” encompasses all the financial assets and real properties you own at the time of your death. Your “estate” is what gets distributed to your inheriting beneficiaries.
However, your beneficiaries cannot inherit any assets or property until the probate process is complete and all your debts and taxes have been paid off. Your beneficiaries may have to pay expensive out-of-pocket legal fees before they can even access their inheritance.
An estate plan is the one possible answer to this dilemma.
An effective estate plan:
- Lessens the probability for the need of a probate
- Ensures your assets are distributed per your wishes
- Lessens Estate, federal, and state taxes liability
Your Estate Plan
You can help your family possibly avoid the probate process by drafting an estate plan with effective trust documents. When you place your assets into certain trusts, you relinquish your ownership to protect them from the probate process.
Probate court is restricted from accessing or utilizing any assets placed into certain trust because they are technically no longer your property. This means that your beneficiaries can bypass the probate process and inherit your assets almost immediately.
Your estate plan periodically needs to be updated to account for any new property and financial assets. After all, you want your estate plan to encompass your present circumstances, not those of decades past. Any assets your estate plan doesn’t cover will have to go through the probate process.
Schedule a Consultation
It’s important to discuss and review your financial situation with an attorney before drafting your estate plan. Contact the Okaloosa County estate planning lawyers at Chesser & Barr, P.A. to start the process today. Our objective is to protect your family by creating an effective estate plan that circumvents probate court.
Contact Chesser & Barr, P.A. at (850) 610-7471 to schedule a case evaluation.