Probate and estate administration should start with writing a good last will and testament. Proper estate planning can save time and money. A good plan should always include a will, power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, living will, and consultation with your accountant or financial advisor. Proper legal planning helps when making medical decisions for loved ones, opening an estate after a death, issuing letters of administration to the executor, executrix or personal representative, calculating inheritance tax, and closing the estate according to the decedent’s wishes.
“What is estate planning?”
“What is probate?”
Probate is the process of proving a will is valid and thereafter administering the estate of a dead person according to the terms of the will. The first step is to file the purported will with the clerk of the appropriate court in the county where the deceased person lived, along with a petition to have the court approve the will and appoint the executor named in the will (or if none is available, an administrator) with a declaration of a person who had signed the will as a witness. If the court determines the will is valid, the court then “admits” the will to probate.
“What is a last will and testament?”
A last will and testament is “a fancy and redundant way of saying “will.” Lawyers and clients like the formal resonance of the language. Will and testament mean the same thing. A document will be the “last” will if the maker of it dies before writing another one.”
A Will is a written document which leaves the estate of the person who signed the will to named persons or entities (beneficiaries, legatees, divisees) including portions or percentages of the estate, specific gifts, creation of trusts for management and future distribution of all or a portion of the estate (a testamentary trust).
“What is a power of attorney?”
A power of attorney is a written document signed by a person giving another person the power to act in conducting the signer’s business, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts and other activities in the name of the person granting the power. The person receiving the power of attorney (the agent) is “attorney in fact” for the person giving the power, and usually signs documents as “Melinda Hubbard, attorney in fact for Guilda Giver.” There are two types of power of attorney: a) general power of attorney, which covers all activities, and b) special power of attorney, which grants powers limited to specific matters, such as selling a particular piece of real estate, handling some bank accounts or executing a limited partnership agreement. A power of attorney may expire on a date stated in the document or upon written cancellation. Usually the signer acknowledges before a notary public that he/she executed the power, so that it is recordable if necessary, as in a real estate transaction.
All these services are provided in a professional manner with attention to you. Let my office assist you after only one (1) office consultation. After our initial consultation, I can prepare all the documents you need or open an estate for administration.
Trial preparation and strategy is complex and time consuming. You should schedule a consultation with me immediately to protect your rights.
Please contact me at 423-613-0160 to schedule an appointment today.