Understanding the laws applicable to wills and probate is very important both when you are making an estate plan and when your loved one has passed away. It is especially essential to know that when assets are left to heirs or beneficiaries in a will, those assets typically must pass through the probate process.
The probate process can be a time consuming and costly one, so those who are going through probate should make certain they’re represented by a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney who can help to facilitate the process. And, those who are making an estate plan should work with an attorney to determine if it is possible to put plans in place to transfer money and property outside of the probate process so heirs or beneficiaries can inherit in a more timely manner.
Frank & Kraft can provide help. We represent the executor of an estate, heirs or beneficiaries, and others involved in the probate process including those who have decided to contest a will. We also offer assistance to individuals who are thinking ahead about the future and who want to understand the rules of wills and probate so they can decide if they want to find other ways to pass assets. To learn more about the assistance our firm can provide to you, give us a call today.
What are the Rules for Wills and Probate?
When you decide whether a last will and testament is the right approach to transferring assets to loved ones or not, the most important thing to be aware of is that when you pass assets through a last will and testament, the assets must pass through the probate process in almost all cases.
The probate process can take around a year to complete, according to Investopedia. Investopedia also estimates that the probate process typically costs around three to seven percent of the value of the estate. This can be very expensive for heirs or beneficiaries and it can be stressful for your loved ones to have to handle court proceedings after you pass on. The probate process also takes place in court, which means that it is not a private process as court records are created that can become public record.
If you do not want assets to pass through probate, you will need to use legal tools other than a last will and testament to facilitate the transfer of your wealth after you pass away. For example, you could use trusts to pass assets through the trust administration process or could use pay on death accounts. You could also structure the ownership of property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship so your property can pass automatically to co-owners when you pass on.
Frank & Kraft will help you to explore which options are right for you — but the most important thing to know is that assets left to loved ones in a will typically do have to pass through probate so you need to be proactive if you don’t want this to occur.
Getting Help from a Probate Lawyer
If you want to spare your family the cost and time involved in the probate process, you should reach out to Frank & Kraft while you are healthy and still have time to make a comprehensive estate plan that goes beyond just creating a last will and testament. With help from a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our legal team, you can find ways to pass assets outside of the probate process so your loved ones do not have to go through probate in order to inherit.
Wr can also provide representation if you stand to inherit because a loved one has died and you need help navigating the probate process or if you have been named executor of an estate and you need assistance fulfilling your fiduciary duty to help wind up the affairs of the estate. To find out more about the different ways that our firm can help with legal issues related to wills and probate, join us for a free seminar today. You can also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online to get personalized advice. Call now to get an advocate on your side.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.