At Deadra Woods Stokes and Associates, P.C., our team of dedicated attorneys understands the importance of planning for the future to make sure your loved ones can inherit assets from your estate when you pass away. Regardless of the size of your estate, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to prepare for the probate process so that your loved ones aren’t hit with unexpected costs and taxes when your property is passed on to them.
If you want to add estate planning tools that will protect your wealth during probate, then you need to get in touch with our legal team today to discuss your situation with one of our experienced lawyers. We are here to provide you with the knowledgeable legal counsel you deserve!
When you pass away, the assets in your estate go through a process known as probate. During this process, the government settles the debts your estate owes before your property and assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. These matters can be complex, which is why we are here to stand by your side each step of the way so we can guide you and ensure your best interests are protected.
During probate, the court will do the following:
Determine if the deceased person has a valid will
Complete an inventory of the deceased person’s property
Appraise the property
Distribute the property
Probate matters are complicated, which is why you should consult a lawyer to discuss the following:
Drafting a Will: You need to include a detailed will in your estate plan if you want to pass all of your assets to your loved ones. Our lawyers will properly draft a will that covers all of your designated beneficiaries.
Avoiding Family Conflict: Family disputes often arise during the probate process. Our lawyers can review the terms of your will and explain which estate planning tools will prevent family tensions and arguments during probate.
Protection from Legal Claims: Family members aren’t the only people you have to worry about when it comes to claims against your estate. From creditors filing claims on your estate to third parties attempting to contest your will, you need to speak to a lawyer about the type of legal protections you need to deter others from taking advantage of your estate after you pass away.
Probate Is Slow: Because the probate process is controlled by courts, it can be very time consuming, sometimes taking months or even years to complete. Without a strong estate plan that helps you avoid some of the expenses associated with probate, your loved ones will experience delays when they attempt to access their inheritance.
Probate Can Be Expensive: If you have minor errors, the court can use money from your estate to hire attorneys to represent them during the probate process. Courts can also issue probate fees that are paid from a portion of the gross estate.
Methods for mitigating or avoiding the probate process can differ between different individuals and estates. Generally, there are methods that most estate owners can take to help lessen the impact of probate on their property.
These methods include:
Establishing Pay-On-Death (POD) financial accounts
Establishing a Transfer-On-Death (TOD) beneficiary designation
Drafting a revocable living trust
Drafting an irrevocable living trust
The state of Illinois also has a small estate affidavit, providing an expedited and efficient probate process for estates with total assets valued less than $100,000.
Are you ready to prepare your estate for probate? Then get in touch with our lawyers at Deadra Woods Stokes and Associates, P.C. so we can help you and your family overcome the legal obstacles associated with your estate. Our legal team is committed to looking out for our clients’ best interests, and we will use our extensive resources and years of experience to serve you.
To speak to a member of our law firm about your probate matter, call to schedule your free consultation.