Amanda Scott is an attorney at the firm of PB Elder Law. PB Elder Law is the only firm in WNY dedicated to elder law. Did you know you need more than just a will to protect you from probate? Amanda Scott says the will is the legal document that is going to control probate. Probate is a legal proceeding that occurs in the courts if someone passes away and there are assets that are owned in their name alone at the time of their death.
A revokable trust is actually a document that someone can set up prior to death. It’s a new legal agreement that will be structured to own assets, so the grantor, the creator of the trust would move their assets into this trust, and it becomes a new entity. The trust itself, would own and manage these assets. The trust allows assets to pass outside of probate. They would pass automatically upon the grantor’s death.
Probate is a legal proceeding that occurs in the surrogate’s court. Anytime someone passes away and there are assets that are owned in their name alone, meaning there is no beneficiary or joint owner, the asset is not held in a trust, a court proceeding must occur in order to transfer legal ownership of the assets to the intended beneficiaries. Probate is a minimum seven month proceeding. There is a series of paper work that is submitted to the surrogates court in order to either admit the will; the last will and testament to the probate court or if there is no last will and testament, they follow the laws of intestacy and basically the law would control where assets are transferred after death. The probate proceeding is really just a legal proceeding that occurs in order to transfer legal ownership of assets to beneficiaries.
The downside to probate is that there are considerable costs involved including filing fees and attorney fees. If you run into any complications such as a will contest, this can cause the estate an enormous amount of money.
Amanda Scott says clients can call them at any time. They are happy to answer questions. You can call or come in for a consultation. They can sit down with you and go through everything; big picture as far as what you should be thinking about. They can look at your unique circumstances and try to help you understand really, what you should be thinking about for yourselves, preserving your assets, and making sure your wishes are followed whether it is in crisis or after passing.