Oct 262015
 
Probate:  Formal Administration or Summary Administration

When a loved one passes, starting the probate process can seem like a daunting task. You may hear the terms “formal administration” or “summary administration” and not know what they mean or what the difference is. In layman’s terms, a formal administration is a full administration of the estate. Generally, you need to do a formal administration when the estate’s assets are greater than $75,000 excluding homestead property (basically the descendant’s primary residence) or when required in the Last Will and Testament. A formal administration takes more time, around six months to more than a year to complete, and cost More…

Oct 202015
 

In this final segment of my three part overview of what assets do not go through probate, I will discuss Trust Assets. Trust Assets: Assets that have been placed in a Revocable Trust prior to death avoid probate. However, if your Will establishes a trust (called a testamentary trust), those assets will go through probate because the legal title of those assets was held in your name until death. During the probate process, the assets you assigned to go to your testamentary trust in your Will are retitled into the name of your trust. What are Trust Assets? Trust assets More…

Oct 132015
 

A trust is a crucial part of a well-crafted estate plan. Trusts allow a third party, known as the trustee, to hold and have control over assets in the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Based on your needs, a trust can be a fairly straightforward document, holding a few pieces of real property or a bank account, or may be more complex, holding business interests, intellectual property, security accounts and real estate. An experienced attorney can draft a QTIP trust to provide income for a surviving spouse, a charitable lead or remainder trust to benefit a cause More…

Oct 072015
 

Asset protection, in essence, is organizing your property in a manner that protects it from a potential lawsuit. Business entities such as corporations and limited partnerships, as well as estate planning devices like trusts, all exist to safeguard assets against the reach of a possible plaintiff. A good asset protection plan will not protect property from legitimate claims of debts owed. Contrary to popular belief, one cannot incur debts and then place them in an asset protection mechanism, expecting them to be absolutely protected from creditor claims. However, when little or no assets are within reach of a judgment, that More…

Oct 062015
 

In this segment of my three part overview of what assets do not pass through probate, I will discuss the second broad category of assets that do not go through the probate process: assets that have a beneficiary designation. Beneficiary Designation: There are some assets that allow you to designate a beneficiary. Those assets commonly include IRAs, insurance policies, retirement plans, and some bank accounts. Generally, when a person dies the assets are paid out to the designated beneficiary without probate. The designated beneficiary simply contacts the institution, provides the required documents, and the institution distributes the assets to the More…