While estate planning can be an emotional challenge, it can also provide much-needed peace of mind for the estate planner and family members. As a result, making sure to understand estate planning concerns, and the probate process as well, is useful.
It is helpful to have legal help at every stage of the estate planning process. In the beginning, the estate planner may need help with estate planning documents and developing an estate plan. Help with drafting a will, drafting a living will or a power of attorney is useful at the first stage of the estate planning process. The estate plan can direct the distribution of assets and address guardianship concerns. It also sets forth the executor who will handle the estate's concerns.
Trained guidance through the probate administration process can also be useful whenever a personal representative may be in need of help with probate administration responsibilities. The responsibilities of administering the probate estate can include notification of beneficiaries, notification of creditors, the sale of property, distribution of assets and the closure of the estate. Not all estates need to go through the probate process but it is helpful to understand the process when it is necessary. If real estate, annuities, money market funds, special accounts or overall significant assets are involved, probate may be necessary.
Trained guidance can also be helpful in circumstances of a will contest if one arises. There are many complexities associated with setting up an estate plan and administering one which is why it is helpful to be familiar with the process and to know what to do in certain circumstances to provide peace of mind for estate planners and their families.