Most people do not know much about probate and trust law, because these are touchy topics. However, everyone must deal with it eventually, and they should know enough to spot a myth when it’s encountered. Read on to learn several misconceptions about probate law that keep making the rounds.
If a Person Dies Intestate, the State Gets it All
There are many reasons to draft a will, but keeping assets out of the state’s hands is not a valid reason. If a person does intestate (without a will), state law determines who gets what. Spouses and children are the first in line, and they share assets in most cases. However, a written will can keep one side from receiving a disproportionate share of the inheritance. As long as a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island can find a distant relative, the state won’t get it all.
Probate Takes Years
Most estates do not take years to conclude, and the only significant delay is the state-mandated period where creditors may file claims. The length of time varies by jurisdiction, ranging from several months to a year. However, if a family member challenges the validity of the will or if siblings cannot agree on asset division, the court may need to intervene. In most instances, a probate lawyer can help clients simplify the process and bring it to a conclusion as soon as possible.
Spouses can be Left Out
Some couples opt not to leave one another a substantial amount of assets. In cases where both parties are independently wealthy, they may choose to leave everything to children from previous relationships. This works most of the time, as long as the surviving spouse is satisfied with that arrangement. However, state laws give surviving spouses the right to take the elective share of the decedent’s estate. If spouses do not want to leave assets to one another, an estate planning lawyer can help them sign the right waivers and other forms.
Estate planning is an uncomfortable subject because it makes people think about their eventual passing. However, planning for what happens after death is a key part of life for those with family concerns. By hiring a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island, a client can ensure that their loved ones are taken care of even after they are gone.
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