Probate – a word that many don’t know the meaning of, or fear because of its reputation as a confusing and stressful process. In short, probate is the court-supervised process used to transfer your loved one’s assets to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. Probate is designed to serve as a protection against fraud by freezing an estate’s assets until a judge can confirm that everything is in order with the Will, beneficiaries, and creditors.
At 20WestLegal, we understand that it is challenging enough to experience the loss of a loved one, so we take our time to guide you through each step of the postmortem process. Our goal is to remove the complexity and alleviate the hassle that probate can often bring. Most importantly, we want to ensure your comfort as much as possible during the process. Once you contact our office, we will schedule an appointment to discuss the individual circumstances of the estate and determine what next steps are necessary. In certain instances, it may be possible to escape probate altogether or move through a more “informal” process which is less cumbersome. No matter the case, 20WestLegal will provide you with the compassionate service you may need during this time. You can read more about these services here.
Give us a call today, so we may help guide you in the right direction.
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Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make.
Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:
Young families face different estate planning needs and challenges than those who have had a long life behind them. While established families may be concerned about what will happen to their family when they pass on, young, growing families can be more focused on what is happening to their family in the present. And you even may find it hard to justify planning for an “estate” you haven’t yet established!
But here’s the thing … if you have children, or anyone else you care about, you may not have an “estate”, but you do need estate planning, if you want to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be stuck in court and/or conflict, if anything happens to you.
If you’re like most people, you probably view estate planning as a burdensome necessity—just one more thing to check off of life’s endless “to-do” list.
You may shop around and find a lawyer to create planning documents for you, or you might try creating your own DIY plan using online documents. Then, you’ll put those documents into a drawer, mentally check estate planning off your to-do list, and forget about them.
The problem is, your estate plan is not a one-and-done type of deal.
When it comes to putting off or refusing to create an estate plan, your mind can concoct all sorts of rationalizations: “I won’t care because I’ll be dead,” “I’m too young,” “That won’t happen to me,” or “My family will know what to do.”
But these thoughts all come from a mix of egoic pride, denial, and above all, we imagine, a lack of real education about estate planning and the consequences to your family. Once you understand exactly what planning is designed to prevent and support, you’ll realize there really is no acceptable excuse for not having a plan, provided you are able to plan and truly care about your family’s experience after you die or if you become incapacitated.
It’s back-to-school time again, and when it comes to estate planning you may have homework to do. As a parent, your most critical—and often overlooked—task is to select and legally document guardians for your minor children. Guardians are people legally named to care for your children in the event of your death or incapacity.
Is it time to update your Estate Plan.
There are two major mistakes in Estate Planning. The first is failing to have a plan at all; the second is failing to update it. Since no one has the crystal ball to forecast when your time will come, your plan should always be reflect your current circumstances, wishes and desires. Since life so fluid, these three elements are constantly shifting.
There are a number of essential things a last will and testament can do for you, such as distribute family heirlooms and name a guardian for minor children, but there are some equally important things a will won’t do.
There is no doubt we are a nation of pet lovers. Unfortunately, the law as it is currently written views pets as property, so providing for your pet in your will won’t work. So how do you protect your favorite fur-person? With a pet trust.
Being asked by a family member or close friend to serve as trustee for their trust upon their death can be an incredible honor. At the same time, however, serving as a trustee can be a massive responsibility—and the role is not for everyone.
Most often associate “estate planning” with death. Specifically, what happens to assets after death. However, there are a few documents that are effective while you are living. In fact, they are only effective while you are living so that as soon as you die, they do too. These documents are used when you are physically incapable or unavailable to make decisions on your own. Since statistically speaking, you have more of a chance of becoming incapacitated than dying, these life planning tools are essential for everyone to have.