Making arrangements to care for your family and to ensure the financial security of your loved ones can provide you with greater peace of mind. Making a will or establishing a trust can help you preserve your financial assets and provide guidance to your family in the event of your death. This can also help your family avoid some of the delays and fees associated with probate to reduce their stress and worry during this emotional time. Working with an attorney who specializes in this field of law can help you to manage the process more easily to ensure that your wishes are respected and that your family is protected if the worst should happen.
The Importance of Having a Will
Wills are legal documents that allow you to appoint an executor to oversee the distribution of your assets, make decisions regarding the care of your minor children or pets, set aside special bequests for long-time friends or associates and generally to provide guidance for those you leave behind regarding your property and money. In cases where no will can be found, the state typically divides assets according to preset formulas. This can sometimes result in your loved ones receiving less financial support. Even with a will in place, however, your estate must go through probate to establish the validity of the will and to ensure that all of your creditors have been paid and all disputes have been settled. This process typically takes about a year.
In some cases, it may be possible to avoid probate by establishing revocable living trusts for your dependents and loved ones. Because the money in these trusts is held by a trustee and is not considered to be your property, it can be transferred to the intended recipient directly upon your death without requiring the delay and paperwork associated with wills and probate proceedings. Gifts and shared bank accounts can also be used to streamline the distribution of assets without requiring extensive probate proceedings and attendant delays.
Attorney Barry S. Schinder specializes in providing help to clients in the fields of estate planning and business law. His experience with the Department of Estate and Gift Taxation with the Internal Revenue Service has given Barry a unique perspective on the issues facing individuals and families. By working with Barry, you can set up the most advantageous arrangements for your family members and loved ones to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your estate goes through probate quickly and with the fewest issues possible.