You may assume that you should use a last will to facilitate future asset transfers. If you do use a last will to state your final wishes regarding the distribution of your property, the will must be admitted to probate.
The estate administrator is the executor of the estate. You nominate an executor when you create your last will. The executor will handle the business of the estate, but the probate court will supervise.
During probate the court must determine the validity of the will. If anyone wanted to contest the will, an argument could be presented during the probate process.
The executor must pay all final debts, and he or she must prepare the assets for distribution to the heirs. Depending on the nature of the property that comprises the estate, this can be a rather time-consuming process.
The exact duration of the probate process is going to vary depending on the circumstances. If there is an estate challenge, or if there is a great deal of property involved, the process could get lengthy.
If everything is smooth sailing, probate could run its course in less than a year. Very complicated cases can be stuck in probate for a number of years.
This time lag can present difficulties, because there could be people who were relying on the decedent for support.
Many people assume that they should use a last will as a vehicle of asset transfer because they are not especially wealthy.
There are somewhat complicated estate planning strategies that are used by wealthy individuals to mitigate estate tax exposure. However, when you understand some things about probate, you can see that you may want to use a different type of document to arrange for asset transfers.
The revocable living trust is very popular among people who want to avoid probate. With this type of trust you maintain control of the assets while you are alive. You can act as the trustee and the beneficiary initially. Because the trust is revocable, you can actually dissolve the trust at any time, and you can change the terms.
When you create the trust agreement you name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you pass away, and you name successor beneficiaries. After your passing, the successor trustee can distribute assets to the beneficiaries outside of the process of probate. As a result, the asset transfers will take place in a much more timely manner.
Free Probate Report
If you would like to obtain some in-depth information about the probate process, we have a valuable resource that is available to you at the present time. Our firm has prepared a special report on probate, and it is being offered free of charge.
To obtain your copy of the report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Grand Forks ND Probate Report.