Depending on the length and breadth of your assets and the specific nature of your wishes exactly how to proceed when planning your estate is going to vary. This is why it is always going to be a good idea to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney when you get serious about planning for the future. He or she will listen as you explain your objectives and advise you accordingly so that your legacy will in the end match your vision.
Along these lines you are going to need to identify the appropriate vehicle of asset transfer even of your estate is not especially complex. The most common way of getting your assets into the hands of your heirs after you pass away is through the creation of a last will. Though the will is the most well known estate planning document, in reality it may not be the best way to transfer assets to your loved ones after your passing.
If you do use a will, your estate must pass through the process of probate, during which the probate or surrogate court in the jurisdiction that is local to you examines the will in an effort to determine its validity and then subsequently supervises the administration of the estate. That sounds simple enough in theory, but in practice probate comes with some inherent pitfalls.
For one, probate can be time consuming and your family members will not receive their inheritances until your estate has been probated and closed. In addition, there are costs associated with probate that can consume upwards of 5% of the overall value of your estate and sometimes even more. Probate also provides a venue within which challenges to the will can be presented.
For the reasons stated above, many people decide to use a revocable living trust as their primary vehicle of asset transfer instead of a last will.
Deciding the best way to transfer your assets to your loved ones after your passing is a rudimentary aspect of estate planning, and the best way to go about it is with the assistance of an experienced, licensed estate planning attorney.