Does a will mean family members will have a stress-free time dealing with your estate and the probate process in the case of your death? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, too many families believe a will is enough. As a result, they end up having to deal with time-consuming, complicated tasks during a time when they are grieving. Keep reading to learn how probate can affect you.
It’s difficult enough trying to process the loss of the loved one. Add to that the challenges of probate, and it can become overwhelming. How can you ensure you do enough now to prevent this scenario for your family members? Keep reading to learn more about the implications of probate and what you can do to minimize stress for your loved ones.
A Will Is Good But Not Enough
Yes, a will, also called a last will and testament, is crucial. Everyone should take the time to create this legal document that states your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and possessions and the care of your minor children. Although your last will and testament is a must-have document, it’s essential to take things a step further to avoid a difficult probate process for your family members.
How Probate Affects Your Family
If you die with only a will, your assets will not immediately go to your heirs as you requested in the document. Instead, your family members must take the will for authentication by a judge to become valid. This court procedure is called probate. Probate is a process that ensures all of the decedent’s outstanding bills and debts are paid.
Going through probate costs money and typically takes a lot of time, but it is mandatory before asset distribution can take place, unless you have already set up other plans. So whether you have a will or not, probate may be part of the process. Without a will, the state will distribute your property according to your state’s intestate laws.
How to Avoid Probate Hassles for Your Loved Ones
Depending on your estate, different options are available to facilitate a smoother experience for your heirs after your death. Specific methods can redirect your assets to ensure your loved ones do not have to go through the probate process. Assets with beneficiary designations like IRAs, 401(k)s, and life insurance policy proceeds can enable them to bypass probate altogether. Other estate planning tools like a revocable living trust can also avoid probate.
Let Arch Legacy Help You Protect Your Family
At Arch Legacy, we help individuals from all walks of life and in all stages of life determine the estate planning strategies that are right for their unique situation. Our Life & Legacy Planning Process will walk you through an asset analysis and help you know what to expect. The experienced and caring Arch Legacy team is here to help you consider your best options. In addition, we will help you identify the right combination of solutions to meet your needs, budget, and family dynamics.
Contact Arch Legacy today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about how probate can affect you and your loved ones.