Do I need an estate plan?
If you have an estate, then you should have an estate plan… and everyone has an estate. This does not mean that everyone needs a Trust or even a Will. Often clients with few assets, or with the majority of their assets in retirement accounts do not need costly estate plans. Just changing the way title is held or beneficiary designations can accomplish estate planning goals. For clients with greater assets and real estate, more sophisticated planning may be needed.
What is a Trust?
A Trust is a legal document where a Grantor gives property to the Trustee to hold for the benefit of the Beneficiary. There are many different types of trusts and each serve different purposes. Some are revocable while others are irrevocable. Trusts can and should be tailored to your specific needs.
What is Probate?
Probate is the court process of proving the validity of a Will, or the court appointment of an individual to handle the affairs of a person who died without a Will. Probate is a time consuming a costly process which can often be avoided. As of January 1, 2012 the estate of a person who dies without a will, who owned no real estate and less than $150,000 in assets can avoid probate. Additionally, a properly executed trust will ensure one’s estate will avoid probate.
I am an Executor or Trustee, what are my responsibilities?
The roles of an executor and trustee are similar in most cases. In its simplest form, the executor’s/trustee’s job is to collect the assets of the estate, pay the debts of the estate, and then distribute the remaining assets to those who are entitled to receive them. However, obligations may vary depending on whether the decedent had a trust, will, or died intestate (without a will). In all cases, legal representation will help you navigate the potential pitfalls to ensure quick and orderly distribution of the estate, while protecting you from legal claims of creditors and beneficiaries.
How should I hold title to my property?
I am upside down on my house, what can I do?