Estate planning can sometimes be presented as a headache or painful task, yet if you properly care for your estate in advance these chores are eliminated or reduced for those left behind. It is a fact: when you pass, everything you own must be transferred to someone else. Ideally, there is an established trust clearly outlining who is to receive what. What happens if someone passes without a trust? Does having a trust make that much difference?
When a person dies without a trust, the estate enters probate. This includes people who only have a will. The dictionary definition of probate is “the legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic.” Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will. The court appoints either an executor or personal representative named in the will to manage and administer the process of collecting the assets of the deceased person, paying any liabilities and taxes remaining on the person’s estate and finally distributing the remaining assets of the estate to beneficiaries named in the will or determined as such by the court.
Simply put, the court and law of the state determines who receives the contents of the deceased’s estate. A probate court is not under obligation to honor any verbal or written wishes a person may have expressed as to the appropriation of their estate. Even if the deceased had told others they would receive certain items of the state, without a will proving such, the claims are invalid.
Setting up your estate properly can be a special way for you to show love and appreciation to loved ones or friends after you are gone, but if you are not proactive in creating a trust now, your estate will be handled in probate court. Law firms specializing in estate planning are equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they need to set up a trust or to settle an estate without the stress of probate.