Estate Planning FAQs Part 2
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Estate Planning and other legal matters.
What is a probate?
Probate is a legal process in which a court appoints someone, subject to a judge’s supervision, to manage a descendant’s estate, including paying the debts and distributing the property of the descendant.
What is a probate estate?
A probate is the property owned by a person on his or her date of death that does not have a transfer on death, payable on death or other beneficiary designation.
If I die without a will, what happens to my assets?
It depends on whether you have living parents or descendants – children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. If you don’t, then your spouse inherits all of your interstate property. If you do, they and your spouse will share your interstate property as follows:
If you die with parents but no descendants – Your surviving spouse inherits the first $30,000 of your interstate property, plus 1/2 of the balance
If you die with descendants from you and your surviving spouse – Your surviving spouse inherits the first $30,000 of your interstate property, plus 1/2 of the balance
If you die with descendants who are not those of your surviving spouse – Your spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate balance.
Does a will provide probate?
No, in order for a will to effectively distribute the property of the descendant, it must be probated. On average, it takes 12-18 months to probate an estate. Any challenge to the validity of the will of distribution of the estate’s asset will substantially lengthen the time.
How much does probate cost?
One average, probate costs between 3% and 5% of the value of the estate’s property. Any challenge to the validity of the will or distribution of the estate’s asset will substantially increase the cost.
Does a will have to be probated?
Yes, wills are only legally effective to distribute a descendant’s property if probated.
How can I protect a will from probate?
A will cannot be protected from probate. A descendant’s will must be probated if a person dies with property in his or her name in order for it to be legally effective. To avoid the probate process, consider a living trust.