The estate planning process allows you to answer many questions about your tangible assets and your end-of-life wishes. One of the most basic questions is: Who gets what? Through careful estate planning, you can ensure that your assets are distributed among your heirs and beneficiaries, in exactly the way that you intend.
Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. The reality is that many estates wind up in probate court, where a judge may determine that certain assets be distributed in ways that are contrary to your true wishes. By working with an estate planning law firm, you can avoid this process and guarantee your true wishes are upheld.
What is Probate?
Before we discuss the specific role of the estate planning attorney, we need to discuss a crucial concept within estate planning law… and that’s probate.
Basically, probate court is a special legal jurisdiction that deals exclusively with the property and estate of individuals who have died. In theory, the purpose of probate court is to be sure that all of the deceased’s creditors are paid, their debts settled, and their assets distributed among the right people.
The Problems with Probate Court
However, probate court doesn’t always work out in an advantageous way. Consider:
- The probate process can be long and drawn-out, leading to extra expenses and legal hassles on behalf of your beneficiaries.
- Probate also entails all of your assets being revealed publicly, which can be an unwelcome intrusion into your privacy.
- Finally, probate courts may not distribute your assets in the way you intended. In some cases, the court’s decisions may cause real tension within families.
As such, you’ll want to avoid probate court whenever possible. That’s something that an estate planning lawyer can help with.
Why Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer?
There are countless reasons why you might hire an expert in estate planning law. One of the primary reasons is to keep your assets out of probate. In doing so, you can:
- Ensure that your assets are distributed in just the way you want them to be.
- Minimize any tension or conflict among your heirs and beneficiaries.
- Eliminate legal hassle and needless expense on the part of your beneficiaries.
- Maintain the confidentiality of your estate.
The bottom line: By working with an estate planning attorney, you can ease the process of property distribution upon your death.
How to Avoid Probate?
How exactly can an advanced estate planning attorney help keep your assets out of probate?
The answer is to use more sophisticated estate planning documents and strategies, including trusts. If all you have is a will, your estate is very likely to end up in probate; a revocable living trust, on the other hand, can be used to shield your estate from probate altogether.
Of course, the establishment of a trust can be challenging, requiring the expertise of an estate planning specialist. It’s not something we would recommend doing on a DIY basis; careful adherence to estate law is necessary if you wish to keep your estate out of the probate system.
Learn More About Advanced Estate Planning
One of the main benefits of hiring an estate planning law firm is that it gives you control over how your property is distributed. To make the most of the estate planning process, we recommend contacting a qualified lawyer, like those at Singh Law Firm.
We would love to speak with you further about trusts and other estate planning needs. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, reach out to Singh Law Firm at your next opportunity.