Death and Probate: Avoid At Least One of Them with Proper Estate Planning

Death and Probate: Avoid At Least One of Them with Proper Estate Planning

DEATH AND PROBATE You can avoid at least one of them!

The recent tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose will became public as a result of the probate proceeding, brought estate planning issues into the public eye. His death and the one last year of actor James Gandolfini, served as a textbook example of why it is so important to have your estate planning in place. Their families are now wasting time and money in court to dissolve their estates. Time and money that could have been saved if they had a living trust.

Plan Ahead, or Pay the Price. Incredibly, even if all these celebrities have highly paid staffs taking care of their contracts and projects, nobody seems to have told them about the importance of a living trust. Even more incredible is that both of them had a will. A will is not enough. As a matter of fact the ratio wills vs. living trusts, in the Woodland Hills office of The Document People-We the People is about 1 to 20.

A Will is better than nothing at all. Don’t get us wrong. A will is better than nothing, but it’s not enough the moment you have children, you buy real estate, you have a business, or even if you have bank accounts in your name only. Typically we prepare wills for elderly people who have already liquidated or transferred their assets to their heirs. In that case, with only a few personal possessions, a last will and testament will do.

A Probate is expensive, time consuming and public. However, if you have real estate, a business, or even one checking account in the bank, then a living trust will protect your estate from ever having to go through probate. A probate is a court proceeding where a judge appoints a referee to come up with an inventory and to appraise the estate of the deceased. There are filing fees, publications in newspapers, a bond might be requested, and the process takes longer than a year, and close to two years, even if there are no disputes about the wishes of the deceased.

The Document People is a network of legal document assistants who share a common purpose: helping customers with Living Trusts and Estate Planning. We are looking forward to offering you Wills and Trusts assistance in our offices of The Document People/We the People in Woodland Hills, The Document People/We the People Santa Monica, San Fernando, Torrance, Anaheim and Oceanside.

The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.