A carefully crafted estate plan allows you to decide you will receive your assets at your passing. It is important to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure the documents are properly executed. A common misconception is that if someone has a will, their family won’t need to go through the probate court. Consult with Kennedy Law to create an estate plan specific to your assets, property, and family.
1. Decide Who Receives Your Assets
Assets that you own in your individual name at the time of your death are subject to probate. Probate can be a time-consuming, complex, and expensive process. Having an estate plan can minimize the expenses and uncertainties of probate by having clear instructions on how your assets should be distributed. Having an estate plan also helps to minimize potential disputes between family members.
2. Name Guardians to Care for Minor Children
If you die without a surviving spouse to care for your minor children (i.e., under age 18) then a guardian and/or conservator will need to be appointed by the probate court to care for your minor children. You can indicate in your estate plan whom you would trust to be the guardian and/or conservator of your minor children.
3. Name the Personal Representative of your Estate
In most instances, if you die with real property and/or assets worth greater than $75,000.00 in your individual name, these assets must be administered under the direction of the probate court before they can go to your beneficiaries. By executing a will, you can specify who you trust to serve as the personal representative of your estate. The personal representative is responsible for paying any debts and expenses, deciding how specific items with be allocated among your beneficiaries, liquidating your assets, and more.
4. Protect your Family’s Inheritance from Creditors and Estate Taxes
An experienced estate planning attorney can help minimize the risks of your assets being subject to creditors and/or more estate taxes than what is legally necessary. If you have potential creditor problems or work in an industry that is subject to litigation, there are several ways to isolate your assets from future creditors. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate these complex questions and help protect your family from uncertainties and unnecessary disputes.