Q: Can you explain how the administration of a will works?
–Taking Care of Mom
A: Dear Taking Care:
In order for assets in a will to be transferred to a beneficiary, the will must first pass through the court process known as probate. During probate, the court (or Register of Wills) oversees the will's administration, ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
However, probate proceedings tend to drag out for many months or even years, and your Personal Representative will likely have to hire an attorney to represent them, which can result in costly legal fees that can drain your estate. During probate, there's also the chance that one of your family members might contest your will.
Unlike wills, trusts don't require your family to go through probate, which can save them time, money, and the potential for conflict. Plus, when you have a trust set up, the distribution of your assets happens in the privacy of our office—not through the public probate process.
Also, when your assets pass by will rather than by trust, there is usually a “lag” during which there has not yet been an executor appointed and there are no estate funds accessible for estate expenses. When that happens, family members may have to pay for estate expenses out of pocket, then seek reimbursement later.
This article is a service of Jason Johnson, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you've ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 410-570-1671 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.