To provide for the distribution of your estate after your death, you should have a will or trust. If you own anything — like a car, house, or personal items — then you have an estate. If you do not plan for how you want that estate to be distributed, then you will die intestate, and your items will be distributed according to the state intestacy laws.
Everyone has heard of a will when it comes to estate planning. A will is a legal document that allows you to leave property to certain individuals and organizations. What you may not know is that a will does not automatically give your estate away the moment you die. It must go through probate, which means it is filed with the court and becomes a public document that can be seen by anyone who looks up the file. Probate is a process that takes anywhere from 9 months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate and any challenges to the will. It usually costs several thousand dollars to have an estate probated. A will sometimes requires the payment of estate taxes if your assets exceed the state and federal limits. If you haven’t made other plans for the probate period, your assets are not available to pay for costs such as those associated with your children or even your animals. In addition, the state may have to appoint someone to take care of your children and any assets they are set to inherit.
Contact me today to discuss your assets so that I can help you craft a plan that works with your situation.