frequently asked questions


What is Probate?

The word “Probate” is primarily a verb.  The courts “probate” a deceased, or incapacitated person’s estate (assets). That is, taking action to settle claims against the estate, pay debts, distribute assets to the beneficiaries, decide on the validity of a will (if there is one), and decide many other issues. This can be a time consuming and expensive proposition as the estate is usually diminished to pay the costs of administration (attorney fees, court costs, accounting, taxes, etx.)

Through careful planning, (“estate planning”),  one can avoid probate. There are procedures (a Living Trust”) for instance, which may avoid the time and expense of probaete.

The term “intestate” means dying without leaving a will. Such estates are probat4ed in accord with the law of your state.  A surviving spouse gets a certain percentage, the children another and so on.

What is Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship?
A “joint tenancy” is one method of holding real estate to avoid probate after one spouse dies.  Upon death, the real property passes to the surviving spouse avoiding probate.  But before entering into a joint tenancy, the consequences must be considered: ()i.e., death and ordinary  taxes, creditors, children and other potential heirs.)
What is a Will?
A “will” is a document intended to provide for the orderly distribution of estate assets .A will does not avoid probate, but often simplifies matters and lessons expense. It also serves to provide greater control as to what happens to your assets after death.
What is an Advanced medical directive?
The “advanced medical directive” allows you to decide beforehand who will make medical decisions when you ae not able.  It creates a “durable power of attorney” for health care purposes. The advanced medical directive gives the person appointed by you, the power to make the decision to extend, or stop medical life support measures you wish to have or not have if you are in a terminal condition. .If you are incapacitated without providing instructons, you and your estate may be subject to a guardianship of conservatorship. This means a court wil determine who can make important decisions while you are incapacitated.
What is a Revocable Trust?
A “revocable living trust” is first of all, a “trust.”  A trust, simply put, is a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another.(oddly enough, sometimes for yourself.) Property is transferred into the trust.  The trust is  an agreement between  the trust maker (trustor),  the trust managers (Trustees) ,and the beneficiaries of the trust. A trust may accomplish asset distribution outside of the courts.  

A husband and wife may create a trust in which they fulfill all three functions. (trustor, trustee, and beneficiary) They can manage the trust assets, and enjoy those assets as beneficiaries.  Provision can be made as to management of trust assets, the distribution of assets to heirs in the event of death and other designated trust managers may step in if the two of you become incapacitated or die.  The advantage to this is obvious. There is one plan to control assets and without a court proceeding.

Request a Consultation

DIRECT CONTACT: 562-356-8531 |

562-356-8531 |