Problems Posed by Probate, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

For those who have specific goals for their assets once they leave this world, an estate plan becomes an essential component of their financial plan. There are many benefits to having an estate plan, including ensuring that your wishes will be carried out and making the process of administering your estate much less of a burden on your heirs. One of the more important – and frequently misunderstood – benefits of estate planning is the ability to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process of distributing your estate after you die, and it can be both expensive and time-consuming. The fees from probate are deducted from the estate, leaving less for your heirs than you otherwise intended. Furthermore, since probate is conducted through the courts, administering your estate can be a lengthy process and, depending on the complexity of your estate, could take years to be finalized.

The Des Moines Register reminds us in “Unpacking the Perils of Probate” that if your estate is subject to probate, then it will become public record. If you want privacy even after you pass away and want knowledge of the contents of your estate to stay with your heirs, then make plans in advance for your assets to avoid probate.

With headlines of celebrity estates and the errors of the rich and famous, some people maintain that a will is all they need for their assets to be administered outside of probate. This is not true. A will “tells” a probate judge how you want your assets distributed through probate. To prevent your assets from going through the probate process, there are several steps you can take. Talk to a qualified estate planning attorney about them.

Designate Beneficiaries: Remember that life insurance policies and retirement accounts have beneficiary designations that direct who receives these benefits when you die. The will can’t touch them. The article explains that assets covered by a beneficiary designation don’t pass through probate. The designated beneficiary typically trumps what’s in your will. You should make sure you review these designations regularly. If there’s no beneficiary designated, that account may be subject to probate.

Set up a Trust: If you have quite a few assets that aren’t covered by beneficiary designations, you can create a living trust to avoid probate. A trust can allow for more control when your assets are distributed after you pass. This is a very good benefit for those with minor children, if you don’t want them to receive their inheritance in one lump sum. Trusts are more expensive to set up than just a will, so talk with an estate planning attorney to see if one makes sense for you.

No one wants to burden loved ones after we die. To be sure your estate plan is ready to save them money as well as migraines, work with an estate planning attorney to avoid probate.

Reference: The Des Moines Register (August 3, 2015) “Unpacking the Perils of Probate”

Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce