In our last entry we covered some of the basics about probate. Today, we’ll continue this discussion by reviewing the ways that a will or a trust can help prevent a long probate battle, and what types of assets are immune from probate.

If you or a loved one needs legal advice or a will drawn up, contact us at Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts in Watertown. We’ve dedicated ourselves to providing the best service that we can to ensure that your family gets to keep the money that you earned. We’re also highly skilled at making sure that assets are protected in the case of a parent being admitted to a nursing home. This can be an especially difficult time if you live in another part of the country. Call us today if you need help protecting your family’s assets through a trust or a will.

Why You Should Try to Avoid Probate

Probate can be a long, difficult process that, if there are many assets of real or sentimental value at stake, can be costly and emotionally distressing. The cost of hiring lawyers to wade through probate or to challenge a decision can quickly drain resources. If you want to make sure your family gets what you want them to in a timely manner, your best bet is to leave as few ambiguities in your will as possible.

Being as clear as possible allows your executor to move through the process as efficiently as possible so that your beneficiaries get what they’re entitled to as quickly as they can. The mourning process already takes a long time, prolonging it because of legal squabbling prolongs people’s pain and can create problems in families that might never be repaired.

When Do You Have to Go Through Probate?

If there is a will in place, probate is only necessary when there are assets that are only in the name of the deceased. Most commonly, this applies to bank accounts, retirement accounts, and some investments. However, if the accounts had another name on them (such as a spouse or the executor or an estate), probate isn’t necessary.

The most common reason that people have to go through probate is because of a lack of a will or because a will is out of date. This usually causes the most problems when a person has many more assets than they originally had when the will was written and if there are more people who feel entitled to a part of these assets. This is why it is good to update your will when your income or assets increase dramatically or if your family keeps increasing in size.

Another reason that an estate may have to go through probate is because the original executor or beneficiary of a will has passed away and the will did not include other beneficiaries or executors. This isn’t necessarily a common occurrence, however it happens enough that you should be prepared to prevent it when you’re writing your will. Naming more than one person as a beneficiary, or having a backup executor, can move the process along more quickly and save your family some frustration.

If you need a will, call us at Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts in Watertown. Our practice has years of experience dedicated to ensuring that your final wishes are carried out the way you wanted them. We can also help protect your assets in the case of being admitted to a nursing home or from other creditors. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with estate planning, creating a trust, or many other forms of financial protection.

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