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Get Answers To These Common Estate Planning Questions

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about the estate planning process, whether you’re creating a new plan or modifying an existing plan. Our estate planning lawyers can make the process smooth and even enjoyable. To set up a consultation, please call us at 724-271-8300 or 850-374-8549 today.

What happens if I die intestate?

Also known as dying without a will, dying intestate in Pennsylvania or Florida can give you less control over who gets your assets when you die. For example, if you die without a will, state probate laws will determine who will receive your assets and debts. Generally, your assets will go directly to your spouse if you are married. If you are unmarried, the state will distribute your assets to your siblings or parents. Additionally, your assets will have to go through probate, with a judge administering those assets.

Having a will in your estate plan gives you more control over how your assets will be distributed. A well-drafted, enforceable will can also prevent heartache and confusion among family members.

When do I need both a will and a trust?

It can depend on your circumstances. For a lot of people, a will is all they need. However, if you have complex assets you want to pass down to your beneficiaries, or you want to avoid probate and retain privacy, or you want to minimize tax obligations, then placing assets in a trust may be the best option.

Who should I choose as the executor of my estate?

Executors have a lot of responsibility. When you’re selecting who will be your executor, you’ll want to choose someone who is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Financially stable
  • Organized
  • Morally and ethically minded
  • Diplomatic
  • Not afraid to handle confrontation with difficult loved ones

You may have a few people in mind who can fill the role. It’s essential to think carefully about who you trust with your estate and the distribution of assets.

How can I reduce the risk of probate disputes?

Probate can create headaches for anyone who is involved with your estate. If you wish to reduce the risk of probate disputes or litigation, you can:

  • Thoroughly document your intentions regarding asset distribution.
  • Continually update your estate plan to reflect your current familial and financial circumstances.
  • Appoint an ethical and responsible individual as your executor.
  • Have an experienced estate planning attorney draft all your documents.
  • Don’t involve any loved ones who are beneficiaries in the asset distribution process.
  • Consider placing more valuable or complex assets into a trust.

While these actions can reduce the risk of probate disputes, it doesn’t eliminate them. They can contact us if your loved ones participate in a probate dispute regarding your estate.

Contact Us To Learn More

Lenington, Gratton, & Associates has offices in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Our attorneys are also licensed to practice in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Texas, New Mexico and Alabama. To set up a consultation, please call us at 724-271-8300 or 850-374-8549, or send an email inquiry to get the conversation started.