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Issues surrounding wills, trusts, and probate are complex. On top of the complexity of these issues, there exists a myriad of myths surrounding these matters.
Myth: The Probate Process Takes Years
One of the most common myths associated with estate issues is that the probate process itself takes years. In fact, a majority of estates that must go through the probate process complete the proceedings in a relatively short period of time. In most instances, the real “delay” involves the legally mandated time allowed for creditors to make claims against the estate, according to Cornell Law School.
Myth: The Cost of Probate Will “Eat Up” Money in an Estate
The cost of the probate process is another recurring myth. The common mantra is that the costs associated with probating an estate will consume the assets in the estate itself. In fact, the costs associated with probate can sometimes be contained and minimized.
Attorney fees are one of the financial concerns associated with an estate. The reality is that with a little effort, a person in need of an estate lawyer Sacramento trusts can find a professional that provides services at a reasonable fee.
Myth: A Young Adult Doesn’t Need To Start Estate Planning
Many people put off estate planning until later in life. These people maintain that they are simply too young to commence estate planning.
In reality, once a person begins earning money, and accumulating assets, the time for estate planning has commenced. This particularly is the case if a person has children.
Myth: If Someone Dies Without a Will, the State Gets the Property
Another myth is that if a person dies without a will, the state automatically gets all of his or her property. If a person dies without a will, or without some other estate plan like a trust, the property is dispersed to that individual’s heirs consistent with the mandates of state law.
Myth: A Personal Injury Settlement Does Not Alter Estate Plan
A persistent myth is that a personal injury settlement does not impact an existing estate plan. In other words, a good number of people who receive a personal injury award believe that it will not impact their estate or taxes.
In fact, a the receipt of money in a personal injury case does necessitate a reevaluation of existing estate plans. Indeed, an estate plan should be reexamined any time a person has an extraordinary change in their financial status.
A prime example of why a personal injury award can impact an estate plan centers on the overall value of a person’s estate. A person who receives a sizeable award in a personal injury case may end up with assets that trigger issues relating to taxes, including both estate and inheritance taxes. In order to address this type of issue, a person may need to consider the need to establish a trust of some type, when that necessity may not have existed prior to the favorable conclusion of a personal injury case.
A consultation with an estate planning lawyer can provide answers to questions about wills, trust, and probate. This includes dispelling myths that surround these types of legal issues. As a general rule, an estate planning lawyer typically charges no fee for an initial consultation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into five myths about wills, trusts, and probate.