When you plan your estate, you execute legally binding documents. This is certainly important, because you must state your final wishes in writing. At the same time, you should consider the matter of estate administration. If you use a last will, the executor that you choose will be charged with the estate administration tasks.
Fact vs. Fiction
You may have seen a fictional depiction in a movie or television show. Someone passes away, and family members gather together at someone’s home after the funeral. Certain people are called aside by the estate executor, and there is a “reading of the will.”
The implication is that the case is closed after this reading of the will. You would get the impression that the executor can distribute inheritances right away, and there is no court involvement.
In fact, things do not work this way. If you use a last will to state your final wishes regarding the distribution of your assets, the executor that you name in the will must admit the will to probate.
Probate can be defined as the legal process of estate administration in a court of law. During probate, the executor handles the estate administration tasks, but the administration of the estate is supervised by the probate court.
The heirs that are named in the last will do not receive their inheritances until the court has probated and closed the estate.
This can be a time-consuming process. The exact duration of the probate process is going to vary depending on a number of different factors. In most jurisdictions, a relatively simple and straightforward probate case can be resolved in perhaps nine months or so. Cases that are more complicated can take considerably longer.
No one wants to wait for months to receive an inheritance, but there are those who could suffer genuine hardships because they were depending on the decedent for support.
Timely and Efficient Asset Transfers
It is possible to arrange for asset transfers outside of the process of probate. If you take certain steps, your heirs will receive their inheritances in a timely and efficient manner.
There are multiple different probate avoidance tools that can be utilized. One very popular choice is the revocable living trust. With a revocable living trust you continue to control the assets while you are alive. After you die, the trustee can distribute assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes, and probate would not be a factor.
The time frame would be greatly accelerated, and this is one of the reasons why revocable living trusts are widely utilized.
Special Report on Revocable Living Trusts
We have prepared a free special report that takes an in-depth look at revocable living trusts. To obtain your copy of the report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Oklahoma City Living Trust Report.
Parman & Easterday