When there are minor children or family members with special needs, it’s critical to have an estate plan, advises the Capital Press in the article, “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning.”
Probate is costly and time consuming, and becomes even more so when minor young children need protection. Simple wills are frequently written, so the estate goes to the child when he reaches age 18. However, few teens can manage big property at that age. A trust helps, by directing that the property will be held for him by a trustee and only pass control when they are older.
Probate is the default process to administer an estate after someone’s death, when a will or other documents are presented in court and an executor is appointed to manage it. It also gives creditors a chance to present claims for money owed to them. Distribution of assets will occur only after all proper notices have been issued and all outstanding bills have been paid.
Probate can be expensive. However, wise estate planning can help most families avoid this and ensure the transition of wealth and property in a smooth manner. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about establishing a trust. A person can name themselves as the trustee and beneficiaries during their lifetime and instruct to whom it will pass after their death. A living trust can be amended or revoked at any time, if circumstances change.
The title of the land must be transferred to the trust with the land’s former owner as trustee in order to have the land avoid probate. With a trust, it makes it easier to avoid probate because nothing’s in the person’s name and the property can transition to the beneficiaries without having to go to court. Living trusts also help in the event of incapacity or a disease, like Alzheimer’s, to avoid conservatorship (guardianship of an adult who loses capacity). It can also help to decrease capital gains taxes, since the property transfers before their death.
Distributing an estate that has an abundance of land, but not necessarily liquid assets, requires an experienced estate planning attorney. They can help you and your family work through the process to ensure that your heirs are treated fairly.
Reference: Capital Press (December 20, 2018) “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning”