Probate is defined as the procedure by which an Executor or Administrator proceeds to admit a Will to the jurisdiction of the court. This procedure is designed to determine the “validity” of the will, and if valid, to distribute the deceased’s property in accordance with the terms of the will.
The term “probate” generally includes all matters relating to the administration of estates.
Following are just a few of the drawbacks associated with probate:
Lack Of Privacy
Documents filed with the Court are public information. They are available for inspection to anyone who asks. In large estates which require an accounting, your probate file will contain a complete list of all assets which are to be distributed by your Will – this includes business assets.
This lack of privacy may lead to problems among family members who now know the plan of distribution and may promt a will contest with respect to provisions they disagree with. Disinherited relatives and creditors are notified and given time by the court to contest the Will.
The probate of an estate may take several months to several years to complete. During that time family members may have to apply to the court for an allowance.
Fragmentation – Real Estate
If you own real property in more than one state, probate rules must be followed in each state in which real property is located. The cost and time may be increased. REVOCABLE TRUST A Revocable Trust is a legal device that allows you to maintain complete control over your assets while AVOIDING PROBATE. Because there is no probate of a Revocable Trust, your private financial matters remain private, there are no probate costs, no delays and loss of control, and no fragmentation of the estate.
The principle behind a Revocable Trust is simple. When you establish a Revocable Trust, you transfer all your property into the Trust, and then name yourself as trustee, or you can name you and your spouse as co-trustees of the Trust.
Here are some reasons to consider Revocable Trust:
You Maintain Complete Control Over Your Property In Trust
The trustees maintain COMPLETE CONTROL over the property, the same control you had before your property was placed in trust. You can buy, sell, borrow, pledge, or collateralize the trust property. You can even discontinue the Trust if you desire, hence the term “Revocable” Trust.
Transferring Property Into The Revocable Trust
The transfer of title to property into the Revocable Trust is a relatively simple matter. Anywhere you have assets, you will get help in transferring your property into the Trust.
Your financial planner, bank, insurance agent, investment counselor, or securities investor, etc., will provide you with assistance needed to transfer your property into your Revocable Trust.
This is generally accomplished by the filing of a simple form requesting a change of ownership from you personally, to your trust.
You may need the assistance of an attorney to transfer real estate, but this cost is minimal and involves nothing more than the drafing and then filing of a deed with your local Registar of Deeds Office.
Probate records are public, your Revocable Trust documents are private. A Revocable Trust will safeguard the privacy of your family and your private financial matters.
Naming A Trustee
Most people name themselves and their spouse as the initial Trustees of their Revocable Trust. This is usually true unless one spouse is incapacitated to the point that he or she is not able to manage your assets in the same way you do now.
Gifts To Religious And Charitable Organizations
Many people wish to give a portion or sometimes all of their assets to a religious or charitable organization in order to carry on the work of those organizations that have given them comfort or peace of mind during their lifetimes. This is easily accomplished with a Revocable Trust.
Marital Tax Deductions
Federal estate taxes must be paid on any estate worth more than $675,000 beginning at a tax rate of 37%. Your estate includes not only the current value of your real estate, but also the face value of any life insurance policies, pension or retirement benefits, IRA accounts, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, etc.
Many people are surprised at the size of their estates when all of these are added together. Current tax laws allow you to leave an unlimited amount to a spouse, tax-free.
When your spouse dies however, the combined estate is only entitled to a $675,000 tax exemption. The first $675,000 goes to your beneficiaries free of estate tax.
What is not generally known, is that you and your spouse are each entitled to a $675,000 tax exemption.
Our Revocable Trust packages perserves both exemptions so that a married couple can actually pass, estate tax free, a combined estate of 1,350,000. If the exemption is not preserved through the use of a Revocable Trust, it may be lost.
Attention! We are not attorneys and we are not lawyers. We cannot represent customers, select legal forms, or give advice on rights or laws. The article provided is for information ONLY and is NOT a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.