Here are some misconceptions about Estate Planning:
- I have a will so my family will avoid probate when I die.
- I don’t have a will, so my family will not have to go through probate.
- If I become incapacitated, my executor will be able to handle my financial affairs.
- Joint ownership is a good way to avoid probate.
- I don’t need to do any estate planning because I own much less than the federal estate tax exemption.
Most people do not know that a will only works if your property goes through probate after you die. Probate is the legal process through which the court makes sure that after your death your debts are paid, that your will is legally valid, and then that your assets are distributed according to the instructions in your will. So that rather than avoiding probate a will is really a set of instructions to the probate court and only works if there is a probate. Probate can be time consuming and very costly to an estate.
These are some of the questions and concerns that our clients have had over the years. This is why we have strategically aligned ourselves with attorneys that can answer all of your questions and help you obtain the proper legal documents that you may need.