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Staying informed about estate planning and probate

Posted By on November 22, 2015

A will or last testament is important and can be made by anyone who is legally competent to do so. This means any person over the age of 18, who is of sound mind. The process of planning an estate and establishing a validity of a will involve proceedings that relate to an individual’s estate.  Estate planning is important for any individual who wants to ensure that their property and other wishes such as health care are honored after their death. It helps to protect one’s loved ones by ensuring that they are well provided for in their absence.

Probate is the term used to describe the process by which the deceased’s affairs are settled. Probate courts deal with a number of issues, including guardianship proceedings and name changes. When making a will, it is important to understand the value of the property owned, and also who the property will be left to. The matters or issues of the estate may be addressed before a person dies, or after. Estate planning is done before an individual dies. The process involves setting up a plan that is aimed at protecting one’s assets, while providing for loved ones.

The best way to ensure that one’s wishes are carried out after death is by having a written, legally binding document. Probate entails the process of establishing the validity of a will, so that the issue of property can be addressed properly. Estate administration will involve gathering or getting all the information about assets, having the assets appraised, paying off all debts, and eventually dividing the property among the beneficiaries. All this takes place after the death of the will owner.

Estate planning and probate should not be seen as a preserve of the very rich. It can be beneficial to anyone, regardless of age, gender, financial status, or health. This is a financial decision that is important for everyone. It is particularly important for those who are married and have children, or those with close relatives or dependants. There are lawyers who can offer valuable advice when it comes to making informed decisions that are legally sound, relating to estate planning. The lawyers assist in drafting a will, or establishing trusts. They can offer guidance on how to address the issue of estate taxes. Legal representation is often necessary, especially if there is a dispute regarding the estate. Someone may be trying to challenge the validity of the will, and a court case can ensue.

Having legally binding documents helps to address issues of estate planning and probate matters in a swift manner. Estate planning is essentially about anticipating and arranging for estate disposal, in a manner than should eliminate any uncertainties about the administration of the property. The planning also helps to maximize the value of the property or estate. It does this by reducing property expenses and taxes. Minor children or other beneficiaries who are incapacitated require guardians, who are appointed to look after their interests.

Setting up a process of establishing an estate planning and the probate is a wide field that involves a number of issues, including the will, designating beneficiaries, setting up trusts, property ownership and powers of appointment among others. Planning will also cover areas such as joint tenancy or tenancy in common, gifts, and the powers of the attorney, which can include financial and medical powers. Many estate lawyers often advise their clients to create a living will to avoid future litigation. The living will specifies final funeral and burial arrangements. By doing this, those left behind cannot start arguing on whether to bury or cremate. There have been far too many cases of different people purporting to represent the wishes of the deceased, all giving conflicting information.