Deciding how to handle your estate is important. Most people want to make sure their loved ones are cared for and their hard-earned assets are distributed in the way they prefer. What is the best way to do that? Should you set up a will or a trust? Perhaps some basic information will help you sort out your options.
Wills must go through probate. What is probate? According to RocketLawyer.com, “Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. During probate, it must be proven in court that the person’s will is valid, their property must be inventoried and appraised, taxes and debts must be paid (as well as the lawyers and court fees), and then the remaining property is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. Probate becomes a matter of public record at the time of the individual’s death.”
Directing a will through probate court can take a few weeks to months, depending on the court’s schedule. The estate cannot be settled and property can’t be sold until the courts direct it. All wills must go through probate court to be settled.
The advantage to setting up a will is that it is inexpensive and can be done without any, or at least minimal, attorney involvement. So it can be easier to create a will, but more difficult for your heirs to settle it after you pass.
To avoid probate court, some people create living trusts, which allows you to appoint a trustee to oversee your estate after you pass. The trustee you appoint can transfer your estate and property to your beneficiaries. This makes settling the estate much quicker and easier for the heirs, since no court order has to be granted. It also keeps details of your estate private, since it is not included in the public record like probated wills.
While it is more expensive to set up a trust than write a will, it takes some burden and hassle off of the heirs after you pass.
According to Bryan Schroeder, owner of FasterHouse, “We work with the heirs of estates every day. Some inherit property through wills and some through trusts. The heirs are often surprised that they cannot sell property that has been given to them through a will until the court orders it, which can take some time. Especially for those heirs living out of state, this can create a burden on them, as they have to make sure the property continues to be cared for and remains secure while the courts make their ruling.”
“We try to help heirs sell their homes quickly and easily,” said Schroeder, “even if that means working with them through the probate process. Since we buy homes for cash, we can close on the sale whenever it is best for the heirs.”
The first step in making your decision about wills and trusts is to consult an attorney. The attorney will lay out the benefits and challenges of both options so you can make the decision that is best for you and your loved ones.
If you need help with probate and want to sell your house, please call us at 314-926-0660 or fill out this form