Everyone hopes that their loved ones will be taken care of after they die. As you get older, you begin to plan more and more for when the day comes that you can no longer care for your family directly. When that time comes, it is important to have a plan regarding your assets and final wishes. Probate court is the process of divvying up your property to your loved ones after you die. If you die without a plan in place, the process can be expensive, confusing, and emotionally taxing on your remaining heirs.
That’s why preparing for your death is so important. Unfortunately, the estate planning process can also be confusing, and there are several common myths about probate law that may make you hesitant to start the process. Knowing exactly what you’re in for is an excellent way to alleviate the stress of estate planning. So in this article, we’re going to look at some common misconceptions about probate and estate planning. With a better understanding of the process, you’ll be more likely to begin the steps that will ultimately lead to the security of your family after you die.
If I Die Without a Will, the State Will Inherit My Property
People often die without a will in place. But that doesn’t mean their families do not receive their belongings. When a person dies without a will, the state uses the term “intestate” to convey this. You can also die intestate if you have a will that doesn’t meet the state’s legal requirements. For instance, Minnesota generally does not accept handwritten wills. If you die with only a handwritten will, you may also end up intestate.
Regardless, if you are intestate in Minnesota, your family will still receive an inheritance. The court will just decide upon it instead of you. If you have a spouse at the time of your death, there’s a good chance the court will allow them to inherit everything. If you have a spouse and children, the inheritance will be split into amounts and percentages that the court deems appropriate.
It may not be how you would prefer your money to be bequeathed, but that is what a will is for. If you have young children, they cannot inherit assets until they become adults. So the court will have to assign a conservator to look after the assets until your children are grown. Again, with a will, you can avoid all of this unpleasantness. Your money will not be seized by the state, but neither will your wishes be honored regarding where it should go.
If I Have a Will, My Estate Will Avoid Probate
Avoiding probate court can be necessary for keeping your family secure immediately following your death. A will does not avoid probate. A will is the first step toward probate. Anything bequeathed in the will goes through probate court. To prevent this and get your assets to your family as quickly as possible, there are several things you can do. For instance, any asset with dual ownership will transfer to the other owner and avoid probate. By adding your spouse or adult child’s name to your financial accounts, you can ensure a quick transition following your death.
If you are trying to avoid probate to ensure your family is paid as soon as possible, you can look no further than a revocable trust. Most assets can be transferred to your trust, and trusts do not require probate. You can also assign unique qualifiers to your trust, such as money that can only be used for college or assets that can only be transferred once the recipient graduates. A well-planned estate can avoid probate and keep your family financially secure after you have passed away.
Probate Can Take Years To Process
Only poorly planned estates require years of probate to bequeath your assets. With a will in place, probate can take between 12-18 months. With a trust in place, your bequeathments can be transferred instantly. There are certainly horror stories about probate court taking years to process, but those are for highly complex estates with no will in place. Aretha Franklin’s estate garnered a lot of attention when she died with no will and an estate worth 80 million dollars. Her four sons had to wait four years before they received their inheritance. Fortunately, stories like this are rare. Most people can secure their family’s finances with just a little forethought and planning.
If you are ready to begin planning your estate, call Waldron Law Offices, Ltd at (952) 471-0940. let us make securing your family’s future as simple as possible.