Many people come to my office with many questions about the estate planning process. Here a few frequently asked questions I receive.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of submitting a deceased individual’s will to the court, appointing a personal representative and following through with the legal requirements to dispose of the person’s assets.
Probate Court is a division of Superior Court. It is the court that oversees the transfer of property from the deceased person to whomever is entitled to it. The probate court is no different than any other branch of Superior Court – it just limits itself to this particular area.
What if there is no will?
There are laws that provide how a person’s estate will be distributed if there is no will. The precise distribution will vary according to any given situation. Generally speaking, the property will stay within the family.
Does a will have to be probated?
In my opinion, all wills should be probated. A will has no binding legal effect until it is admitted to probate court. You may also be creating some legal liability if you have the will and do nothing with it.
What is a living trust?
A living trust, or revocable trust, is an estate-planning arrangement under which a trustee (which can be one or more individuals and/or a bank) takes title to the assets of the original owner (the “settlor”). In most cases, the settlor is also the initial trustee. The terms of the document designate who will take over as trustee when the initial trustee is no longer willing and able to act.
As an experienced estate planning attorney, I will explain all the options available to you to meet your estate planning goals, whether you need to just revise an existing will, or create a comprehensive estate plan from scratch. Feel free to call my office for a consultation.