Indianapolis elder law attorneys can help you as you make plans for your assets to transfer to heirs or beneficiaries after you pass on. There are many different things you will want to consider as you determine the right legal tools to transfer assets to your loved ones. One of the issues that you may arise relates to whether you want your assets to transfer during the probate process — which commonly takes place after a death — or whether you would prefer to transfer assets outside of the probate process.
If you hope to help your loved ones avoid the probate process, you need to use other tools besides a last will and testament, such as trusts or pay-on-death accounts, to facilitate the transfer of estate assets. Creating an estate plan that allows for probate to be avoided can be a bit more complex. Frank & Kraft can help. We can assist you both in determining if you should make it your goal to avoid the probate process and we can help you to use the necessary legal tools to achieve that goal. To find out more, give us a call today to talk with Indianapolis elder law attorneys at our firm. You can also read on to find out about some of the top reasons for avoiding the probate process.
One of the key reasons that you may wish for your assets to transfer outside of the probate process is to ensure that you keep your privacy. If your heirs or beneficiaries must go through probate to facilitate the transfer of wealth, the process comes before the court — and it becomes court record. If you don’t want a judge presiding over private issues related to the transfer of your wealth, and if you don’t want information about the transfer of wealth to become public knowledge thanks to being court record, you will need to facilitate the transfer of assets through other means. For example, trust administration happens entirely outside of court unless serious problems arise, and the transfer of assets can remain private.
Timely Transfer of Assets
The probate process takes a long time. Investopedia estimates the process can typically take around a year. If you have heirs or beneficiaries who are counting on an inheritance to support them, or if you have a business or other assets you’re passing on that require new owners to take over hands-on management quickly, the long delay in the transfer of assets caused by the probate process can be detrimental. If you want to facilitate the speedy transfer of wealth, you can use other tools and work with an experienced attorney to create a business succession plan or asset transfer plan that will allow ownership of assets to transfer much more quickly.
Investopedia also indicated the probate process costs around three percent to seven percent of the value of the estate. This can add up to a lot of money, especially if you have a larger estate. And, if there are complications or problems during the probate process, such as assets being missing, the process can take even longer and cost even more. You don’t want a huge portion of your estate assets to be lost because probate costs so much so you should consider making a plan to transfer assets outside of probate process.
However, you should be aware that even if assets do transfer outside of probate process, some of the tools that facilitate this process will not necessarily protect assets from being subject to estate tax if you have a larger estate. If you are concerned about estate tax being assessed, you need to talk with Indianapolis elder law attorneys about your options.
Reduced Risk of Your Wishes Being Contested
There is a chance that a last will and testament could be contested during trust administration. There is also a chance that someone could contest a trust or could challenge other methods of transferring assets outside of probate process. However, it’s much harder to contest a trust than to contest a will because you typically have ongoing involvement with the trust over the course of your life. This can create significant challenges for anyone who wishes to contest the trust because it will be difficult to prove a trust you were involved in for potentially years was not a true reflection of your wishes.
Getting Help from Indianapolis Elder Law Attorneys
Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft can help you to determine if there are other reasons for you to try to ensure your heirs or beneficiaries need to avoid the probate process, in addition to these common reasons. To find out more about how our firm can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online today.
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.