Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Property Passing at Death

What is Probate?

Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the
executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute
assets to the intended beneficiaries. The laws of each state vary, so it is a good idea
to consult an attorney to determine whether a probate proceeding is necessary,
whether the fiduciary must be bonded (a requirement that is often waived in the will)
and what reports must be prepared. Most probate proceedings are neither expensive
nor prolonged, which is contrary to the claims of many vendors selling living trust and
other products.

The basic job of administration and accounting for assets must be done whether the
estate is handled by an executor in probate or whether probate is avoided because
all assets were transferred to a living trust during lifetime or jointly owned. Many states
have simplified or streamlined their probate processes over the years. In such states,
there is now less reason to use probate avoidance techniques unless there are other
valid reasons to continue to minimize probate. In planning your estate, more important
than minimizing probate is minimizing the real issues that can make probate diffi -
cult, such as lawsuits by heirs
American Bar Association

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