People often think of wills, estates, and probate only once tragedy strikes and they find themselves trying to put together the pieces of an incredibly complex and emotional estate puzzle. That is because many people put off estate planning issues until it is too late and the results are often tragic. Those without an estate plan expose friends and family members to drawn-out emotional and expensive court proceedings in which a fight often develops over the loved one’s assets. Estate taxes and legal fees can greatly deplete the decedent’s legacy, and family relations can be irreparably damaged.
In most instances, avoiding the cost and burden of probate should be a high priority. Probate is the process by which a court determines the legality of a will if there is one, and then approves the distribution of an estate’s assets in accordance with the will. If there is no will, the court orders the distribution in accordance with the law. A common misconception is that a will is sufficient to avoid the time and expense associated with probate, or that it will prevent a dispute with relatives seeking more than their allotted share of the estate. That is usually not the case.
The biggest mistake many people make is thinking that their estate is too small, or that they do not have enough money or assets to bother worrying about a will or an estate plan. What they do not realize is that even the smallest estate can be saved thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees and probate costs with a few simple and affordable estate planning instruments that can be prepared with very little time or effort on the part of our clients.
If you have questions about how to avoid probate, you need a will, or if you are in need of a probate attorney, we are here to help. We will guide you through this unnecessarily complex process and help you make the right decisions for you and your loved ones. Contact our office online or call 218-739-HELP (4357) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options today.
Key Practice Topics: Wills; Estate Planning; Probate; Will Contest; Contested Probate; Conservator; Personal Representative; Deed; Living Trust; Trusts; Beneficiary; Trustee; Executor; Bond; Bequeath; Bequest; Joint Tenancy; Joint Estate; Per Stirpes; By Representation; Erode; Waste; Rule of Perpetuities; Divest.