A Little Now Can Save A Lot Later – Why Have A Will

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Many families do not realize the simple act of having a will in place could save heirs thousands of dollars in probate.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of proving that the will is, in fact, the last will and the verification that there are no challenges to it. It is the process of  adjudicating any claims against the estate under court supervision. Probate typically occurs in the regional court where the deceased permanently resided at the time of his or her death. If there is no valid will the property will pass under CT laws known as intestacy laws, which divides the decedents assets among the heirs in the order set forth by the statute. The intestate statute may not reflect the wishes of the decedent, so it is important that everyone have a will to control what happens upon their death.

With or without a will, the property must go through the probate proceedings. The courts must allow others, including the creditors, the opportunity to contest the will.

These proceedings do take time and money. The heirs are the ones who will have to pay the probate fees out of the assets of the estate. With some probate proceedings taking a year or more, the assets are typically “frozen” until the courts decides final distribution of the property. The larger the estate, the higher the fees as probate can easily cost from 3% to 7% or more of the estates full value.

There are additional steps you can take that will help those beneficiaries, simplify or even possibly avoid probate all together;

  • Transfer property to a trust
  • Make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date
  • Make tax free gifts prior to your final days
  • Take advantage of joint ownership/joint tenancy

There are many legal issues involved in these processes and different laws that apply. Thus, it is best to consult an attorney to ensure that the steps you are taking to protect your loved ones upon your death are legally binding.

At Tindall Law Firm, LLC we are very experienced in preparing these legal documents and can assist in helping you document your wishes. Please contact us with any questions on this topic or any other legal issues by calling us at  (203) 755-0018 or visiting us online at https://tindall-lawfirm.com  with all your legal needs.