What is an estate? Everything you own.
What is estate planning? A plan to distribute what you own after your death.
In essence, the basis of estate planning is twofold. What do we have and who will it go to in the event of our deaths? The answer is not always as clear as we may think, but with proper estate planning, we can avoid any confusion, as well as potential messy family disputes and possibly avoid court altogether under some circumstances.
Estate planning encompasses many ways to instruct and inform how to protect and distribute our assets, but the ultimate decision about which estate planning method is best for you entirely depends on your personal circumstances and family structure. The most common instruments used in estate planning are wills and trusts, both of which can be used to provide for the distribution of the estate. However, there are notable differences between the two instruments. Most significantly, a will must go through probate court to be administered, while a trust usually avoids probate altogether. This means that wills become pubic documents since court records are public, while the distribution of a trust remains private. Aside from wills and trusts, Patterson Justice Counsel also offers additional estate planning tools, including advanced directives and powers of attorney, to help protect and safeguard your health and assets in the event of disability or incapacity.
Upon the death of a loved one, probate administration allows for effective management and distribution of the deceased individual’s assets. The probate process refers to the process of filing a petition in court, with or without a will, to administer the estate. This can be a tedious and complicated process, but Patterson Justice Counsel can assist you with these needs, further lessening the burden and stress in the midst of grief.