The process of probate is going to stand in the way of your heirs and their inheritances if you take no steps to arrange for asset transfers outside of probate.
What is probate you ask? Probate is a legal process that allows a court to supervise the administration of an estate. This oversight is positive on the one hand, but probate comes with some negatives as well.
For one thing, probate is a time-consuming process. Even if the situation is straightforward and uncomplicated it will take a number of months for the estate to be probated. Under more complex circumstances probate can drag on for multiple years.
To provide an example, the highly publicized Anna Nicole Smith versus the Marshall family estate case was hung up in the courts for some 15 years before finally being resolved via a Supreme Court ruling.
In addition to the time involved, there are considerable costs that can add up during the probate process to significantly reduce the inheritances that the heirs will be receiving. Plus, anyone who is interested can access probate records. As a result, details about your final affairs would be available to anyone who wanted to access the probate records.
Probate Avoidance in Hartford Is Possible
If the above does not sound too appealing to you, the good news is that there are ways that you can arrange for the transfer of your financial assets outside of the process of probate. A very effective probate avoidance tool is the revocable living trust.
With a revocable living trust you do not surrender control of the assets that you have conveyed into the trust while you are still alive and of sound mind. You create a trust agreement and spell out terms in this agreement.
The process will involve naming a trustee who will be empowered to administer the funds that have been placed into the trust after your passing. You can select an individual, but many people choose to work with trust companies or banks.
In the trust agreement you also name the beneficiary or beneficiaries. After you die, the trustee will follow the terms of the trust and issue monetary distributions to the beneficiaries according to your wishes.
The creation of a revocable living trust may be the best option for you, but there are other possibilities. The best way to explore all of your options so that you can reach an informed conclusion would be to discuss everything with a licensed Hartford estate planning attorney.
Your lawyer will listen as you explain your financial situation and your intentions with regard to providing for family members. The appropriate recommendations will be made, and you will ultimately go forward with a custom crafted estate plan that is perfect for you and your family.