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Wills and Probate Attorney

Wills and Probate Attorney

Wills are perhaps the most common and well-known form of an estate plan. A valid will allows a person to designate how their estate will be distributed and otherwise managed upon their death. In most circumstances, a person who creates a will can feel secure knowing their instructions will be honored.

On the other hand, a person who passes away without a will runs the risk of a court or other estate administrator making decisions that do not reflect their wishes and intentions. Unfortunately, the failure to create this vital document can lead to disputes between family members and even to expensive lawsuits and the ruining of relationships.

Unlike wills, trust is effective during your lifetime. It is an estate planning legal tool that allows you to move the ownership of your most valuable assets into the trust, appointing yourself as a trustee. That means that you can manage those assets while you are alive.

There are different types of trusts. A living revocable trust is the most suitable for the majority of people. This type of trust is effective while you are still alive. Furthermore, you can always revoke it, which means you can make changes and adjust it during your lifetime.

While you are alive, you need to appoint someone as a successor trustee. That should be a person you trust who will smartly and effectively manage your affairs regarding the assets you placed into a trust.

The critical difference between a will and a trust is with regards to the type of assets you leave behind you, as well as the process your loved ones must go through after your death.

While you should place your most valuable assets, such as a house and another real estate, into a trust, there are some smaller items you might want to give to a specific person. That is when you want to have a will as well.

One other reason to make a will is the guardianship of your children. If you have young children, the only way to appoint them a guardian while you live is by making a will. Otherwise, if you die without a will, the fate of your children regarding guardianship will depend on a court decision.

As already mentioned, the legal procedure following your death differs depending on your choice to create trust. Namely, if you die without it, your family has to go through a lengthy and costly court process called probate.

Probate is the court-supervised procedure of gathering deceased assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors. It is vital to have a basic understanding of the probate process to make sure you allocate your assets in a way that honors your wishes. It is equally important to understand that every will goes through probate. In addition, the probate procedure is also public. After your death, this legal document must be filed with the court, in which case everyone can access the content of that document. However, if there is no will, the probate court will distribute property and assets according to the applicable laws of each state. That procedure is also open to the public.

On the other hand, the best way to avoid probate is to create trust. It does not need court approval. In that situation, your successor trustee takes over your asset management immediately after your death.

As a probate attorney, Bruce Childers possesses highly-sophisticated knowledge and expertise in the field of wills and probate procedure, acquired through years of academic training and high-quality service to his valued clients.

To provide the highest-quality service to his clients, Bruce will help them collect and manage life insurance proceeds. Furthermore, he will assist you in getting the decedent’s property appraised and finding and securing all of the decedent’s assets. Additionally, Mr. Childers will provide you with custom-tailored advice on paying the decedent’s bills and settling the debt. Preparing and filing documents required by a probate court is another area where his assistance will prove indispensable. Finally, managing the estate’s checkbook and determining whether a deceased person owes any estate taxes is a no-brainer having Mr. Childers on your side.

In addition to his probate attorney skills, Mr. Childers works with clients in preparing wills, trusts, and other related documents. Using his rich experience in this area, he will advise his clients on administering their estates during their lifetime.

Satisfied clients are Mr. Childers’ most valuable asset. Do not hesitate to schedule your private consultation. Call (850) 434-8000 or email us to discuss your estate planning needs.

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