Probate Lawyer Phoenix, AZ
Probate is the process that must be completed following the death of someone who did not leave a will, or only left a will as part of the estate. A probate lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts can be a big help during this time. The process can be as straightforward or extremely complicated, and can take between 2 months and 2 years, or more. In general, it will help to have a probate lawyer guiding you through the process, especially when there are complicated matters or large assets involved.
Does all of a person’s assets and property have to pass through probate?
No, not all assets of the decedent will have to go through the probate process. Although every state has their own laws, and a probate lawyer in Phoenix, AZ can tell you what rules apply to you, in general insurance policies, joint bank accounts, payable on death bank accounts, retirement accounts, and property held in a living trust.
Depending on the laws of the applicable state, every asset jointly owned will transfer over to the surviving spouse. If the property is only held in the decedent’s name, it may need to pass through probate.
Options for Avoiding Probate
If you would like to avoid probate, there are a few different options, although not all are equal. One of the easiest ways to avoid probate is to ask a lawyer to draft and fund a revocable living trust for all of the assets. The trust will be held by the creator of the trust, and they will be in control of it until they die.
There are other popular options to avoid probate on certain assets such as payable on death bank accounts. However, not everyone is suited to these options. In general, everything should be carefully considered with other elements included in the estate plan. A probate lawyer serving Phoenix, AZ can review your situation and provide you with options that are practical for your needs.
Some states have special rules that help beneficiaries to avoid probate. For example, in Wisconsin, there is a provision known as the Washington Will Provision. This agreement allows all property to be transferred to the surviving spouse without probate. There are other states with similar provisions, and a Phoenix, AZ probate lawyer can explain these to you during a consultation.
Is Probate Ever Better than a Living Trust?
In general, probate is not better than a revocable living trust. However, there are a few circumstances in which probate might be a better option. These are rare and can be determined on a case by case basis. For example, probate might be ideal when the testator does not trust anyone in their family and would like the court to oversee the distribution of the assets. In this case, probate would be better than a revocable living trust.
Another example might be when the a spouse dies and the surviving spouse is living in a nursing home on Medicaid. In this situation probate might be absolutely necessary because under the Medicaid laws, probate preserves the benefits of the surviving spouse.
If you are preparing to go through the probate process, or are beginning to plan out your estate, feel free to call a probate lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC for complimentary probate and estate planning advice.