How can one do the best estate planning in Waltham MA? Many of us are familiar with the term “probate,” and those who are likely aware that they should take steps to avoid having to deal with it. Is it necessary to start probate if the estate has even a modest amount of property? Is probate still required if there is a will in place? All of these are reasonable inquiries for any estate planning lawyer, and we’ll do our best to address them here.
What Does a Probate Mean?
Probate is the legal procedure that takes place after a person has passed away. A judge is supervising this legal procedure. It usually entails a lengthy process, a trip to court, and the hiring of an attorney.
Proving the validity of the will in court is the first stage in the probate process, followed by an inventory of the deceased person’s assets.
The next step in estimating the worth of the estate is to get an appraisal of the property. Thereafter, any overdue taxes or bills will be settled. If the deceased person left a valid will, the estate will be dispersed by the terms of that will and otherwise, the residual assets will be allocated by state law.
What if You Have a Will? Do You Still Have to Go Through Probate?
Another common inquiry is whether or not “probate” is necessary if one has a will. A will, alas, is not a device for evading probate. Instead, the legitimacy of the will is established by the probate court, which ensures the probate process.
The probate judge should be viewed as the recipient of a set of instructions included in the will. It specifies the beneficiaries and the deceased person’s final intentions for their estate. The will must also be probated in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death.
That’s a common source of problems. Even while the probate courts have procedures in place to deal with this common occurrence, it nonetheless adds complexity to the administration of an estate.
How to Avoid Probate?
After their customers realize what’s involved in the probate process, this is a topic that comes up frequently when it comes to best estate planning in Waltham MA. We’ll go further into two excellent strategies for sidestepping the probate process.
Making use of a living trust that you can change your mind about is one option. Another choice is to make a will but to name beneficiaries for all of one’s assets instead. Both of them can help you avoid probate. When a property is transferred into a trust, it no longer has to go through probate.
This is so because the trust’s instructions will now take precedence over any previous will. By doing so, your assets can be transferred to your beneficiaries through the trust without probate or other judicial involvement. Due to this, procedures may be streamlined and sped up.
Beneficiary designations on assets are another method that might be used to circumvent the probate process. Beneficiary designations can be made on many types of assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and even some types of personal property.
The terms “payable on death” and “transfer on death” are frequently used. Various assets provide the same effects, yet they go by different names.
The asset’s designated beneficiary just has to present a copy of the decedent’s death certificate and, depending on the asset’s nature, maybe some further information before they can take ownership. Designating a beneficiary in a legal document is another approach to skip the probate process.