Probate is a legal process that occurs after someone passes away, during which a court oversees the distribution of their assets. This process can be lengthy and expensive, often taking months or even years to complete. Additionally, the court may take a significant portion of the estate’s value as fees for its services. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid probate, and one of the most effective methods is through the use of wills and trusts.
Stephen H. Hagler, LLC, Attorney at Law is a Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyer who can help you prepare your estate to minimize your family’s struggles with probate after you pass away. Let’s examine how wills and trusts can help your family navigate the probate process.
Georgia Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts are legal documents that allow you to dictate how your assets will be distributed after you pass away.
When you create a will, you can name an executor who will oversee the distribution of your assets and carry out your wishes. A will can also specify who should receive specific items, such as heirlooms or pieces of real estate. However, a will must go through probate, which can be a time-consuming and costly process. It’s important to note that the probate process is even more strenuous and complicated if you do not have a will in place before you pass away.
On the other hand, a trust is a legal entity that holds your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. When you create a trust, you transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, and the trustee (who may be you or someone else) manages them according to your instructions. Because the assets are held in the trust, they do not go through probate, which means that your beneficiaries can receive them more quickly and with fewer fees.
There are different types of trusts, and each serves a specific purpose. For example, a revocable living trust allows you to retain control of your assets during your lifetime while avoiding probate when you pass away. An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, provides more protection for your assets, but you may not be able to make changes to it once it is created.
Wise Estate Planning Includes Both a Will and Trusts
In addition to avoiding probate, wills and trusts can also help you minimize estate taxes and protect your assets from creditors. By creating a plan that includes both a will and a trust, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, your loved ones are provided for, and your estate is protected.
While wills and trusts can be complex legal documents, they are essential tools for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are provided for. If you have questions about how wills and trusts can help your family avoid probate, Stephen H. Hagler, LLC, Attorney at Law in Augusta, GA, is an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Posted on behalf of Stephen H. Hagler, LLC