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Attorney Experienced with Wills,Trusts & Probate

Drawing up a will before you pass away will let your loved ones know your exact wishes, taking stress off of them during their time of mourning. Having a proper estate plan and supporting documents will give you peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of. 

Signing a Legal Document

Wills & Trusts

Your will states your instructions for the distribution of your assets at your death and appoints an executor to see that your wishes are carried out. You may appoint an executor you trust rather than having the Court appoint one for you. A will can also create trusts for children, nominate guardians for minors, and accomplish tax planning strategies, making sure the family's wealth is handed down in the most tax-efficient way.

Even though a will is created for you while you are alive, it is an ambulatory document, so it does not have any legal force or effectiveness until your death. Therefore, you have the opportunity to change, modify, alter and re-write your will as many times as you would like, as long as such changes are done with all the formalities mandated by applicable law.

A trust is an instrument that creates a new entity to hold assets and distribute them as directed in the trust agreement. Once a trust agreement is signed and assets are properly transferred to the trust, your assets are then managed, invested, and distributed as you provide in your trust agreement. The agreement can provide for the distribution of the assets you have put in the trust both while you, the grantor, are alive and when you pass away. 

The Probate Process

Probate refers to the process of administering the assets of a decedent, either according to the decedent's will or according to the laws of intestacy (without a will). The local Court will supervise the consolidation of the decedent's assets, payment of his or her debts and expenses, and distribution of the remaining assets to the will's beneficiaries or — if there is no will — to his or her heirs as provided by law. With a will or trust, you'll know that your loved ones will be taken care of in your absence, and they'll be protected by the court.

Upon approval of the will, the probate court will admit the last will and testament to probate and will issue letters testamentary to the executor. If there is no will or if no executor is named, then the court will appoint an administrator for the estate and issue letters of administration. These documents act as court orders and allow the appointee to transact all of the decedent's business and financial affairs. The executor or administrator must account to the court for his or her transactions. A well drafted will can minimize probate controversies and save the estate and its beneficiaries costs and fees to settle.