Probate… Ugh! Am I right? When discussing probate with clients, I sometimes feel like I’m talking about Memphis to someone back home (I’m from Knoxville). It’s not that bad! I go there on purpose! I like it there! You shouldn’t be afraid of it!
Why Avoid Probate? Although probate is not as bad as you probably think it is, there are still some very good reasons to avoid it:
- Unnecessary Cost. Why pay unnecessarily to accomplish your wishes?
- No Privacy. Your nosey neighbors will know you cut out one of the kids.
- Delays. It simply takes longer to get your stuff to your family.
How to Avoid Probate? So, how do you avoid probate? Methods include: Continue reading How would you like to avoid probate?
If you have a child or are expecting your first, its time to pony up and get a Will. This is your responsibility as a parent.
Personal Guardian. If something happens to you, you can name a guardian for your child in a Will. A guardian is the individual who makes decisions for your child such as what school and church to attend, who cares for the child, where the child lives. Typically the personal guardian raises your child in your absence. If you do not have a Will or fail to name a personal guardian in your Will, then a Court has no guidance as to who it should be. It is not hard to imagine that the choice a court might would make you roll over in your grave. Why leave it to chance?
Financial Guardian. If your child is under 18, then the child is legally unable to manage their own property. If the child inherits something, then the child must have a financial guardian appointed by a court to manage their inheritance. The financial guardian has to ask the Court’s permission to access trust property and must have an attorney. In other words, it is expensive and avoidable.
Continue reading Having a Baby? You need a Will.
I will refer you back to my first post in this series here. Remember that only property in your sole name with no joint owner and no beneficiary designation passes through Probate and is controlled by your Will (if you have one).
I am suddenly reminded of a Frank Sinatra song and a certain character portrayed by Ed O’Neill. Love and Marriage… The Bundy’s provide a useful example.
This entry will discuss what happens to that property if you (Al Bundy) do not have a Will. Al, ever the do-it-yourselfer, did not want to pay an attorney to draft a Will. I mean, whats the worst that can happen… Besides, he’ll be dead!
Although the law is different in each state, you will note a common theme among each of them for married parents-the surviving spouse has to share with the kids.
Another important theme to note is that where the property goes depends entirely on who survives you and their relationship to you.
Although I do not intend to cover this exhaustively, I will cover the most common scenarios. In some cases, I have simplified the law, but only to make it more digestible.
Continue reading What happens if I don’t have a Will?