Your will not protect you if you are no longer able to manage your own affairs and may not provide the best protection for your family after your death. In fact, a will-centered plan makes “living probate” a possibility and all-but guarantees that your family will need to go through the probate process when you die.
What is Probate and Living Probate?
Probate is the legal process where a deceased person’s will is brought before the probate court to determine its validity, outstanding legitimate debts are paid, and the deceased person’s accounts and property are transferred to the lawful recipients. The process is public, time-consuming, and costly. It is not uncommon for probate to last for a year or more and cost thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars.
Living probate, also known as guardianship or conservatorship, occurs if you become unable to care for yourself or manage your own affairs. Like probate, it is expensive and time-consuming. The court remains in control for the entire time you are unable to care for yourself. To make matters worse, a living probate is often followed by a probate after death – costing your family additional time and money.
There is a Solution
As estate planning attorneys, we are always working to find ways to protect our clients as well as their loved ones, goals, and accounts and property. Fortunately, we have a solution to the living probate and probate problems posed by will-centered estate plans: a revocable trust-centered estate plan.
With a revocable trust-centered estate plan, you will still have the freedom to choose who will receive your accounts and property at your death, but you will have the added benefit of choosing who can help manage your affairs when you are unable to, without court involvement. This will save you and your loved ones time and money, as well as keep your personal information private.
The Next Step
Now is the right time for us to meet to discuss how a revocable trust will work to protect you and your family. I am available to meet with you in-person or virtually, whichever works best for you.