Unless you have your assets in a living trust, they must go through probate upon your death. Probate allows the courts to oversee the distribution of your assets and ensure that your estate is divided among your heirs appropriately.
In the estate planning world, this is known as “death probate.”
But there’s another kind of probate that many people aren’t aware of – “living probate” – and it’s a process you definitely want to plan for.
Living probate occurs when we become seriously disabled or incapacitated. Under these circumstances, we’re no longer able to handle our own affairs and it may become necessary for a family member or friend to take over on our behalf. But to do this, the court must declare us “incompetent” and officially appoint an executor to oversee our estate, a process I call living probate.
Living probate can be a lengthy and expensive ordeal and requires the guardian and/or conservator to file regular reports with the court, outlining any monies that were spent and any other transactions that affected our estate. It’s also a fairly invasive process as to be declared incompetent, the court must have proof.
That may mean wheeling you into court to demonstrate your inability to care for yourself. It will also likely involve loss of privacy due to the public reading of doctors’ statements to certify your incompetence.
There are of course, ways to avoid living probate. A revocable living trust for example, can ensure that your assets and your privacy are well protected. To learn more about living probate and how to avoid it, give us a call today.
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