Ask the Estate Planning Attorney (Answers to Your Questions)
What’s wrong with “user friendly” probate anyway?
The number one concern is privacy. Probate is a public proceeding. Presently in our office, there are 4 contested probate proceedings. Yes the ticket to entry in Maine probate is “user friendly”. But a revocable living trust would have avoided all 4 of those contested probate proceedings. And contests and bogus creditor claims cost your estate money.
In probate the value of your estate will be filed with the Court. At the same time the Court publishes in the newspaper a Notice to Creditors. I received a notice for a $30,000 bill against a probate estate after one of those notices was published. There was no invoice, no contract, no evidence. But I could not ask the deceased about it. That too would have been avoided with a trust.
Planning for Life (Not just End of Life)
Won’t TOD and named beneficiaries avoid that? Yes, they also avoid probate. But TOD, like probate only deals with end of life decisions. What if you aren’t dead, but you can’t manage your property? Now, while you are able, wouldn’t you like to choose who is going to manage your property if you become disabled? Who can determine if you are disabled (a court or a group of people you trust)? Who manages your property? How you can benefit from it, or others? Whether or not active steps can be taken to preserve your property so that you have as comfortable a life as possible in a period of disability? TODs and named benies won’t do any of that.
To Learn more about how to Protect your estate and how to avoid probate, visit one of our free seminars by registering online at penbaylaw.com or calling 207-236-4888.