ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE
Estate planning is the establishment of a specific plan for preserving and pro-actively managing your wealth while you’re alive and distributing it after your death. You may own these assets separately or jointly with others.
Estate planning done right will accomplish your personal and family goals, making the management of your financial and legal affairs smoother, further proper planning can minimize taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern.
By estate, we are talking about all assets of any value that you own, including real property, any business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal effects and personal property. Estate plan refers to the means in which your estate is passed on to your loved ones at your death.
As you grow older, protecting your independence and dignity requires special planning. Issues such as guardianship, conservatorship, powers of attorney and death with dignity grow in importance. Your wishes can’t be honored unless you have the right legal tools in place.
Probate is neither a legal document, nor is it a strategy. Probate is a court procedure with complex, formal rules designed to take care of people who cannot take care of their own affairs, namely people who are incapacitated or those who have died. However, probate can be costly, time consuming, and invade your privacy. You, your loved ones, and your assets, can avoid probate only through proper legal documents.
The death or attainment of a specific age of a trust beneficiary often triggers action by the trustee. Depending on the terms of the trust agreement, the trust may terminate or continue in further trust. In either case, the trustee may be responsible for collecting the trust assets, paying the debts of the trust settlor or grantor, including income and estate taxes, filing tax returns, accounting to the beneficiaries and distributing the trust assets. As a fiduciary, the trustee has a duty to the beneficiaries to act responsibly. We provide the trustee guidance every step of the way through the trust administration process.
Estate and trust administration are similar procedures. However, a probate estate typically is done through the probate court, while a trust administration avoids probate.