Trusts, Estates & Probate
Will preparation – Without a doubt, one of the most frequent question we are asked is ‘Do I need a Will?’ While there is no legal requirement that you have a Will, you are really doing a disservice to your heirs and whoever will ultimately have to handle your Estate if you do not have one. One of the biggest misperceptions is that if you don’t have a will, your Estate does not need to go through a Probate proceeding. In fact, with very limited exceptions, ALL Estates must go through some sort of Probate Proceeding.
Perhaps the most important directive of a Will is determining guardianship for minor children. Another reason to have a Will is that you decide how your Estate will be distributed and who will be in charge of making such distributions. Without a Will, it is up to the Courts to determine who will be the beneficiaries. Each State has its own set of rules of intestacy [dying without a Will] and succession [who will inherit any assets]. Having a Will undoubtedly saves expenses as well since it is far less likely that there will be legal challenges to either the appointment of an Administrator or to beneficiaries.
Probate- Once a person dies, in order to dispose of their assets, an individual must be appointed as an Executor (or Administrator). Most often this comes up when it is time to sell the decedent’s home. We handle many such matters and are experienced at ushering the Petition through the Surrogate’s Court.