Hello, Estate Planning. Here is your IndustryNewsletters™ estate planning marketing tips for Thursday, August 04, 2022.
Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser .
Estate Planning Marketing Brief
Robert Slavitt
Director of Professional Services
(240) 252-2077
411 Walnut Street, #9124
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
Friend Me on Facebook
Follow Me on Twitter
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Visit Our Website Schedule a Demo Contact Us Visit Our Blog
Share Save

Probate: What Is It Anyway?


Probate: What Is It Anyway?Probate is a series of legal processes that disposes of a decedent's estate. Like most legal processes, it can be imposing. But there are ways to make it easier and possibly even skip it altogether if you prepare in advance.

Probate includes taking note of a will or trusts, inventorying and appraising any property, and notifying any beneficiaries. Hopefully, the deceased wrote a will and appointed an executor to take care of these tasks. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. The executor or administrator will have to take note of any outstanding debts — generally, creditors have about a year to make any claims — and file a final income tax return. Depending on the size of the estate, federal and state estate tax returns may also be necessary.

Once the debts are settled, the executor will distribute the estate as outlined in the will. Since the heirs are named in the will, notifying them and then distributing the assets is usually not difficult. Unlike in the movies, you don't need to gather everyone around a large mahogany table in a lawyer's conference room; a phone call or an email usually suffices.

However, the overall job of gathering the papers and processing all the information can be a time-consuming task. For most estates, it can take up to a year — and even longer if the estate is complicated.

Can probate be skipped?

If you prepare in advance, there are ways to make sure your estate partially or even entirely avoids probate. State law typically governs probate rules, and some states exempt small estates from probate. Others may allow a portion of the estate to avoid probate or go through with a simplified procedure. Property held in a joint tenancy automatically gets transferred, bypassing probate. The money in pension plans, life insurance proceeds, 401(k) plans, medical savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts skips probate as well, provided a beneficiary is named.

Sometimes, you can convert your bank accounts to "payable on death" accounts. You list a beneficiary and, at your death, the account goes directly to that person, skipping probate. In some states, you can even do this with real estate deeds and car registrations.

One of the best techniques to use is a living trust, which legal site Nolo calls an "end-run around probate." Property held in such a trust is technically owned by the trustee, who distributes it after your death in the same way your executor distributes property listed in your will. Contrary to popular belief, however, such trusts do not exempt the estate from estate taxes.

Every estate is different, and each state has its own rules. If you are planning your estate, work with your attorney to see whether trusts or other techniques are worth implementing to reduce the probate burden. Advance planning can save your heirs time, money, and aggravation.

Click HereNeed a simpler way to consistently reach more new prospects? The IndustryNewsletters™ digital marketing platform can help your firm create content marketing strategies filled with engaging articles that get your newsletters noticed. CLICK HERE to find out how we can help you start launching easy email newsletter campaigns today.

Share Save

Your Comments

Saved Articles
Comments and Feedback
Refer A Friend
Your Privacy
IndustryNewsletters™, a division of HomeActions, LLC™, provides email marketing, content and digital marketing tools to estate planning law firms and attorneys. If you received this message in error, or if you choose to unsubscribe from these communications, you may do so at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe here" link below.
Powered by
Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.

This email was sent to: eplegal@industrynewsletters.com

Mailing address: 411 Walnut Street, #9124, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043