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Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. During probate, it must be proven in court that the person’s Will is valid, their property must be inventoried and appraised, taxes and debts must be paid (as well as the lawyers and court fees), and then the remaining property is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. Probate becomes a matter of public record at the time of the individual’s death.
Living trust bypass probate, since technically assets you put in a trust are owned by the trustee, not you, so on your death the trustee can transfer your property and assets directly to your beneficiaries. Be aware that these assets are still taxable by federal estate tax purposes.
A Will is a legal document declaring what a person’s wish is, regarding the disposal of their property or estate after their death and how to distribute the property. wills are simple to prepare, and it’s easy to update them or create new ones when necessary. If you are in need of estate planning, contact us to discuss your options.