Many people assume that the only planning documents they need to keep their assets safe is a will. Relying on a will to distribute your estate guarantees that your estate will go to probate court.
You might be wondering, “Why should I avoid Probate Court?”
Probate is the court-supervised distribution of your assets when you die. This occurs to ensure that debts are paid and determines who is entitled to inheriting assets. Legal heirs will then have the opportunity to voice objections or suggestions. You can infer why many want to avoid this court-mandated exercise. Amidst dealing with grief and arrangements, the last place grieving family members want to go is a courtroom to fight for the assets that they are rightfully inheriting. The process causes unnecessary delays and expenses.
The length and hassle of the case depends on how large the estate is, whether there is a will, and whether or not spouses or potential heirs object, and this is just in Ohio. In many other states the process is even more tedious and complicated. What if you own property in other states? Your family members could be in court for years fighting for the property you thought you left for their safekeeping. This is a complicated process that may disinherit those you love.
Any asset that does not have named beneficiaries or is not a trust asset must pass through Probate Court. This default court process to administer the estate surprises far too many families. In reality, creating a living will isn’t enough.
How can you help your family avoid the harsh process of Ohio Probate Court?
To avoid probate you can do a few things; using a trust, naming beneficiaries directly on your financial accounts, or using Transfer on Death designations for real estate and car titles are a few of them. A trust is a very common strategy to avoid the cost, delays and hassles of probate but there can still be important steps that need to be taken after the creators of the trust pass away.
Do everything you can to make sure your family doesn’t end up toiling away in Probate Court. Speak with the experienced elder law attorneys at Cooper, Adel & Associates and get your affairs in order today. Contact us for a free consultation.
To learn more about probate, read our F.A.Q.’s about probate.