In order for assets in a will to be transferred to a beneficiary, the will must first pass through the court process known as probate. During probate, the court oversees the will’s administration, ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
First the original will is filed, and once it’s accepted by the court, the judge will issue Letters of Executorship to the executor named in the will. Those letters authorize the executor to gather the information about the assets and debts of the estate. Once this process is done, a descriptive list is filed with the court, and once all debts are paid and any disputes settled, the judge will issue a judgment of possession that will put the beneficiaries in possession of the assets of the estate per the terms of the will.
Probate proceedings can drag out for months or even years, and your family will likely have to hire an attorney to represent them, which can result in costly legal fees that can drain your estate. During probate, there’s also the chance that one of your family members might contest your will.
Unlike wills, trusts don’t require your family to go through probate, which can save them time, money, and the potential for conflict. Plus, when you have a trust set up, the distribution of your assets happens in the privacy of our office—not the courtroom.
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