Legacy Insights Blog

Stay informed and catch up on legacy planning and estate administration topics.

The main purpose of the probate process is to distribute the deceased’s money and property in accordance with the Will or state law. Not all Wills, and not all accounts and property, need to go through probate court. And just because a Will is filed with the probate court does not mean a probate needs to be opened. But whether or not probate is necessary, most state laws require that a Will be filed when the creator of the will passes away.

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If you have overheard any discussion about estate planning, you have likely heard the words “guardian” or “trustee” tossed around in the conversation. When it comes to estate planning, who will ultimately be in charge of your minor child is an important decision that requires consideration of many factors.

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Estate planning attorneys and probate and trust administration attorneys play crucial but distinct roles in the legal processes involving legacy planning, asset distribution, and wealth preservation. As part of the estate planning process, you should discuss with your attorney the role they will play during your lifetime and whether they can also assist your loved ones with estate and trust administration when you pass away.

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When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs—collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell property, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in good order.

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There are some common beliefs you may have about estate planning that may be inaccurate: that having a will avoids probate, being married means everything a spouse owns goes to their surviving spouse, and a person does not need an estate plan if they own few assets. Understand the importance of having an up-to-date estate plan and learn how it not only contemplates what happens after your death, but also protects you and your loved ones if you become incapacitated. While there are many reasons to establish and update an estate plan, this article is going to focus on the top three.

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