Having a well-written, updated will is the best protection against leaving your loved ones with numerous problems when you die. This is not a task to be left to your golden years. Life is unpredictable; you could die unexpectedly or suddenly be struck incompetent. Without a will, your grieving loved ones will have difficult decisions to make without you there to help them navigate the issues.
Those who die without a will (“intestate”), are forced to probate their loved one’s estate and will be forced to have the state choose an administrator for the estate, decide how assets should be dispersed, and who should care for minor children. If you are struck incompetent before a will is written, you will no longer be legally able to make these end-of-life decisions.
Do-it-yourself wills via books and online forms are frequently touted as the easy and inexpensive solution. The reality is that a do-it-yourself will may seem inexpensive at first but can become quite costly for heirs after your death. In fact, many times such wills are recognized as invalid by the probate court. Furthermore, such a will, even if found as valid, may not effectively carry out your desired intentions.
After losing a loved one, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a lengthy court process to determine who receives their property, known as probate. The purpose of the probate is to settle the estate of a deceased individual. The probate process involves winding up the financial matters of the decedent, collecting property, paying debts, and distributing the remaining property according to the terms of the will or, if there is no will, according to the applicable laws of intestate succession. During probate process, which can sometimes last for years, the probate court makes several important determinations, including but not limited to: whether there is a valid will, what property is part of the estate, what debts and taxes need to be paid, and who is entitled to receive the property that remains after obligations are satisfied.
Probate is a complex and potentially confusing process. An experienced probate lawyer will make the process smoother. He or she also understands the concerns of those involved and will keep clients informed at all times. At our firm, we are here to assist you with your probate and estate administration needs. It is our goal to make navigating the complicated world of wills and probate as easy as possible.