Planning for your passing is a not a task that you may want to do, but it can be critical for making sure that your survivors have a smooth transition. Yet, you may not fully understand what will happen to your assets and your loved ones once you die, and this means you may benefit from learning the answers to common questions about wills and probate.
What Happens If You Die Without Having A Will In Place?
In the event that you die without having a will or estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your state. For most individuals, this means their assets will default to the closest relative, such as a spouse, children, or parents.
Whether a will is in place or not, your loved ones will also have to go through the probate courts. These court proceedings are designed to legally formalize the death. This will include your loved ones providing a certificate of death from the coroner, a copy or your will if it is available, as well as a list of assets and debts. If you die without a will, this process will also provide your loved ones with the documents needed to legally take control of any assets that you left behind.
What Will Happen To Your Assets During Probate?
Many individuals assume that their loved ones will receive all of their assets when they die. Yet, this is not true as the courts will need to settle any debts that you owed before distributing the remaining assets. To handle this task, an executor will be appointed to take control of the assets. These professionals will then proceed to settle the outstanding debts and distribute the remaining assets accordingly.
By having a will in place, you will be able to name your own executor for your estate. Also, you can provide instructions for how the executor should distribute your remaining assets. This may not be a pleasant task, but it can be excellent for reducing conflicts that may arise following your death.
Do Your Loved Ones Have To Go Through The Probate Process?
You may not want to put your family through the uncomfortable task of going through the court system. Fortunately, living trusts allow people to avoid the probate courts. When you form a living trust, you are essentially creating a separate legal entity. This entity will continue to exist once you have passed away, which will allow it to distribute any assets you leave to it without having to go through the court system.
For more information, contact local professionals like Patricia K Wood Atty.
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