Probate court decides how to divide assets to the beneficiaries. The average time to evaluate and divide assets takes about a year. In that year court fees, attorney fees and other fees add up. In addition, everyone has access to the files. If a bill collector accesses the files and an outstanding bill is in that person's name, that adds more delay on the case. Estate plans give planners control over who receives the estate and how to execute the plan.
Short answer: Depends on personal belongings, property ownership, state residence and family needs.
Long answer: These questions will determine if an estate plan is right for you.
Do I own real estate?
Homeowners really need to consider estate planning. In addition to less money paid out-of-pocket, selling the home without probate involved is much faster. You can immediately put the home up for sale.
Do I have any children under 18?
In probate court, minors receive a legal guardian of the person to take care of them until 18. Minors also receive a guardian of the estate to manage money until 18. Estate planning gives planners a choice in who takes care of the child and their estate. It also ensures your wishes are complete.
Do you have special circumstances in your family?
Many people fall under this category. Unmarried relationships, children with special needs/disabilities and blended families are the best for an estate plan. If you also want to make sure certain family members don't get a piece of the estate, this plan will give you the choice to do so. Probate court goes by “intestate succession” and it's different for each state and for each type of personal property.
Anyone can have an estate plan. However, if you are unsure about estate planning you can always come in for a free consultation with one of our Torrance estate planning lawyers. We will go into further detail to decide if estate planning suits your needs. For more information on estate planning, contact us.