Probate Litigation -- How to Avoid It
Even without litigation, an estate with only moderate assets can take twelve to eighteen
months to clear probate, and can incur a sizable sum in legal fees associated with the
process. An estate that ends up in litigation can take years to resolve and may incur a
staggering sum in legal fees in the process. Not only does this ultimately diminish the
value of the assets left for your loved ones, but can leave them without access to those
assets in the interim. While no plan is foolproof, there are some basic steps you can take
to help limit the chance that your estate winds up in probate litigation.
Estate Planning: The more thorough your estate plan, the less ambiguity there is
with regard to what you planned to happen to your estate upon your death. A Last
Will and Testament is essential. Additional estate planning tools such as trusts, a
power of attorney and an advanced medical directive also ensure clarity.
Specificity: This cannot be over-emphasized. The more detailed you are in each
estate planning document, the less room there is for interpretation. For example,
name each beneficiary by name instead of using a generic term. If you designate a
specific asset for a particular beneficiary, list the asset by account number, VIN
number, or parcel number instead of simply referring to “the account held by
XYZ bank” or “the marital residence.”
Update Regularly: Nothing stays the same for long. When anything of
importance happens that could impact your estate plan, take the time to update the
plan accordingly. Not only does this increase the specificity of your documents,
but has the added bonus of always having recently signed documents at hand,
decreasing the strength of an argument that you allegedly “changed your mind”
since signing the Will, trust, or other estate document.
Plan for Your Incapacity: We all hope it doesn’t happen to us, but it could.
Probate litigation is not limited to litigation after a decedent dies -- who controls
your estate in the event you become unable to do so yourself can also lead to
litigation. Plan for the possibility of your own incapacity now so that you know
who will be in control if the worst does come to pass.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Reno NV of the Anderson Dorn & Rader Ltd
offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Reno NV. To learn
more about these free resources, please visit http://www.probatebusters.com today.