Paul Kraft, Attorney at Law, represents estate administrators and provides general counsel to families throughout the Franklin area.
Q) I just watched a good friend suffer through his mother’s passing and having to deal with his parent’s estate. His parents had done almost no pre-planning and he literally got physically ill from all the stress from his family and their estate going through probate. What should we do to make sure our kids don’t have to go through anything like that?
A) The first thing I would suggest, is to speak with a qualified attorney so that you can get started creating a comprehensive estate plan. Typically, I recommend that individuals immediately put a Last Will in place (so there is no question as to who gets what) and then help them examine other options, including a Living Trust – which helps to avoid probate, minimizes estate taxes and gives the family additional privacy.
What exactly is Probate?
Probate is the legal process by which a person's final debts are settled and legal title to property is formally passed from the deceased to his or her beneficiaries and heirs. While the probate process is designed to help facilitate the distribution of a deceased person’s estate, it can be intimidating and often turns into a long, drawn-out, expensive ordeal if proper pre-planning has not been done. Especially for families in the midst of grief, struggling to make sense of a loved one’s physical possessions, other financial assets and debts, and what that means for them.
"Typically, I recommend that individuals immediately put a Last Will in place (so there is no question as to who gets what) and then help them examine other options..."
Is an Estate Plan really necessary?
While an estate plan is at its core just a set of legal documents, it is in fact much more meaningful. An estate plan is a reflection of the direct success an individual has attained during his or her lifetime, and how that individual plans on using their success to provide for his or her loved ones and give charitably after death. It also relieves much of the heartache, stress and financial concerns that come upon a family immediately following their loved-one's passing. In short, it makes their time of transition as stress free as possible for all parties involved.
For more information on this, or to arrange to speak with Paul during a private consultation, you may email Paul directly at: Paul@KraftLawTn.com or call his office at (615) 468-9150.