Jeddeloh Snyder PA Attorneys at Law can assist you with the following estate planning and elder law issues
- Testate Estates
- Intestate Estates
- Special Needs Trusts
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Charitable Trusts
- Living Trusts
- Asset Protection
- Medicaid Laws
- Gifts to Minors
- Probate Litigation
- Power of Attorney
- Will Contests
- Family Business Succession Planning
Estate Plans – Protect your family, protect your assets!
Estate planning is often thought to be something for people who are close to retirement or for wealthy people as they prepare for the end of their lives. This misconception could not be farther from the truth. If you have minor children, a car, home, investments, savings account, or personal possessions, you should contact an estate planning attorney at Jeddeloh & Snyder PA to ensure a smooth transition in the event of your passing. While it may seem early to consider estate plans, it is the most responsible way to ensure the well-being of your family.
Why are estate plans important?
Without an estate plan, the probate court will control of the distribution of your assets. If you become disabled and are unable to manage your assets, the court will appoint a conservator to handle your assets. You may need a guardian to be appointed to make healthcare decisions and determine where you live.
In the event of your death, the probate court will determine the distribution your assets according to probate laws, which may not be consistent with your personal wishes. For example, if you have minor children, there may be a dispute over where they live or the handling of assets on their behalf. Without an estate plan, the court may provide a result you may not want.
Most importantly, without an estate plan, you family may face increased costs. Having an attorney create an estate plan can minimize court fees and other fees that take away from your family.
Having an estate plan allows matters of disability care or death to be handled by those who know and understand your wishes, rather than leaving important legal decisions up to the courts.
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which a will is given legal effect and a personal representative (also known as an “executor”) for your estate is appointed. The probate court considers the validity of a person’s will and determines the distribution of property listed in the will. The probate process can be quite lengthy. All wills must be filed with the probate court to be effective. If a person’s estate exceeds a certain amount (defined by state and federal laws), the estate is required to pay estate taxes to the state and federal government.
Without a will, the family of the deceased must file the probate “intestate” and must follow the laws which determine what happens to pay creditors and distribute assets of the estate. How things pass to heirs, “intestate”, is determined by the assets held and who survives at the time of death. The “state” effectively writes a will for you. Having a will allows you to specify your wishes for the distribution of your estate, giving you and your family control instead of having to follow intestate laws.