We may only get one chance to plan our estates, and how we do so will have a profound impact on our families and loved ones. Often, estate-planning mistakes are discovered after it’s too late. Each family has different needs and different concerns. It is important that your estate plan is designed for your particular family situation. Estate planning is a combination of both pragmatism and compassion; reasonable decisions should be made without losing sight of the emotions that come with such a task. An estate-planning attorney should never lose focus on these principles.
When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate, or estate administration, where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. Most individuals are concerned about the strain that this will put on their family. However, if your loved one owned his or her assets through a well-drafted and properly-funded living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary.