You don’t need to be wealthy to do estate planning. It’s always the right time to plan your estate in advance, but it’s most critical when you have beneficiaries who are minors or with special needs, says the Capital Press in the recent article, “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning.”
Estate planning will provide value to your loved ones after you have died, no matter their age. Mature, adult children can often work through the expensive and time-consuming probate court process without a proper estate plan, but it takes a toll. Minor young children should have protections in place in the form of a proper estate plan. If a family is relying only on a Will, the probate estate might go to children when they reach the age of eighteen, but without important legal protections or guidance on how to use the inheritance. Trusts are a solution for most every estate, even for modest estates. Trusts can further help by directing that inherited property will be held for minors and young adults until a set age, like 25 or 30.
Probate is the default, court-based process to administer an estate in Massachusetts after someone’s death. Wills are subject to probate court proceedings. Probate also gives creditors a chance to present claims for money owed to them. Distribution of assets will occur only after all proper notices have been issued, and all outstanding bills have been paid. It’s an entirely avoidable process.
When a person does not have a properly drafted, funded Trust, probate is often the only alternative, and it is expensive. Talk to Attorney McManus about your specific options for establishing a trust. Most trusts can be amended or revoked at any time, if circumstances change.
Reference: Capital Press (December 20, 2018) “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning”