When many people think about estate planning, they imagine a lengthy, expensive, and complex process. While it is true that there are specific rules that must be adhered to when it comes to executing a will and locating, appraising, and bequeathing assets can be complicated, estate planning doesn not have to be an arduous or stressful experience. This is especially true for those who are represented by a skilled Amherst wills and estates attorney who is well-versed in state law as well as federal tax law and can ensure that the process goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
Creating a will is perhaps the best way to ensure that a person’s assets are left to the loved ones, friends, and charitable organizations that will most benefit from the funds. Wills also allow testators to express wishes regarding who will administer their estate, and to identify a guardian who will care for or protect the assets of any minor or disabled children. Executing a will, although it does not eliminate the need to go through the probate process, can make the experience significantly easier and less time-consuming.
Probate is the legal proceeding that must take place before a person’s assets can be distributed if he or she drafted a will or died intestate. This process, which is initiated by the submission of a person’s will to the probate court in the county where he or she resided, is necessary to:
In the event that a person does not have a will, his or her assets will still need to go through probate and will then be divided up according to a pre-set formula.
Testators who create wills are strongly encouraged to name someone to administer the estate after their death. This could be a family member, friend, attorney, bank, or trust company. If someone passed away without a will, which is also known as dying intestate, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate. These individuals are required to fulfill the following tasks:
These are all extremely important tasks, so it is important to take great care when naming an executor. For help choosing your own executor, you should consider speaking with an attorney who can assist you.
If you have questions about planning your own estate, please call 440-934-5330 to speak with one of the dedicated wills and estates attorneys at Kryszak & Associates, Co., LPA today.