Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning
Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and disposal of your estate, during life or in case of any eventuality. However, when it comes to estate and small business planning, clients have many questions but often find answers difficult to come by. Keith R. Romero Attorney and Counselor at Law wants to arm you with the most accurate information to help you make informed decisions. To do this, he has answered some of the most frequently asked questions about estate planning.
1. Do I need a will?
The short answer is yes! It is surprising to know that a large number of people believe they can dispose of their estate by word of mouth or with a hastily written bequest. They often are unaware of the statutory requirements of probate, the judicial process whereby a will is “proved” in a court of law.
2. If I have a will, can I avoid probate?
Well, no. Even if you have a will, your estate must still pass through probate. The judge will follow the directives of the will, provided it meets the requirements of the law, as the judge must first and foremost follow the law.
3. Does a will keep my affairs private?
Unfortunately, no. A will must proceed through probate, which is often a public process. It is one of the few circumstances in the law where lawsuits are openly invited. That does not mean a suit will prevail. However, probate is a very open process.
4. Does a will protect my assets?
It can, but is not the most effective estate planning instrument for asset protection. A trust would be a better option as it would afford quicker disposition, better control, and offer considerably more privacy throughout the process.
5. Is probate expensive?
Not always. Costs for probate depend on the complexity of issues in your estate. It is, after all, litigation by nature, and if disputes arise between your heirs or creditors, this can complicate the process and thus drive up the cost of probate.
6. Is probate a quick process?
Not really. The probate process often takes a minimum of six months and can be even longer if the case becomes bogged down in issues and disputes. This happens especially if the will is silent on a given problem.
7. What is a trust?
Trusts come in a variety of forms. In essence, a trust is an agreement whereby a trustee is required to distribute and manage the assets of an estate for a beneficiary. The trustee and beneficiary can often be the same party, such as in a revocable living trust.
8. Is creating a trust expensive?
Well, this is subjective. A trust is often more expensive than drafting and designing a will. But, it is often cheaper than probate. The complexity of your situation will dictate the cost of the trust.
If you have any more questions about estate planning, get in touch with Keith R. Romero Attorney and Counselor at Law. As the best estate planning attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he believes that everyone can benefit from thoughtful and well-executed estate planning.