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HOW TO KEEP YOUR ASSETS PROTECTED & ENSURE YOUR FAMILY DOESN’T HAVE TO ENDURE PROBATE
• TIME The average case can run anywhere from nine months to
Many people only know our Patriot Wealth team as a group of financial advisors who share the collective goal of helping clients get their financial plans in order. They want a life of reduced monetary stress and burdens, which can then lead to a relaxing and enjoyable retirement. While that description of our team is wholly accurate, few realize how much estate planning influences what we do. In our sphere, we find that the majority of people either have no estate plan or they have a poorly executed plan, both of which can cause tremendous financial loss, stress, and confusion for the family members left behind. Generally speaking, the most immediate issue with estate planning and asset protection is to avoid probate. Probate is the process by which assets are transferred to the next generation, charities, and/or someone else. The process can change slightly depending on jurisdiction, but the definition stays the same regardless of where you live: The Latin word “probate” is literally translated as “prove the will.” If you have a will, proving it might sound simple enough, but the probate process creates three major issues:
through the probate process. From a financial standpoint, it helps your surviving kin avoid all the hassle caused by probate, and, furthermore, because you appoint a trustee who is hired by law to follow the terms you set forth in your trust, it ensures your wishes are more securely kept. Lastly, and most importantly, revocable living trusts typically come as a package that includes all necessary documents, such as a “pour-over will,” which transfers any assets that haven’t already been added to the trust in the trust’s name at death; a trust certificate, which is an abbreviated form of the trust to be provided to banks when acquiring assets so they don’t have to provide a copy of the trust; durable powers of attorney for asset management; and an advanced health care directive. With all the benefits associated with a revocable living trust, you can see why we recommend it to our clients. If you want more information about trusts, let us know so we can put you in touch with an attorney we trust!
two years, but many end up taking even longer.
• PUBLICITY When a case goes to probate court, it becomes a matter of public record. Each county has its own probate court, so anyone could walk into the courthouse, go to the probate and estate divisions room, and pull a file to see who left what and how much. • COST The overall cost can change depending on the jurisdiction, but in North Carolina, for example, the average probate costs 7% of a person’s total estate, a number which can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. utilize a revocable living trust. A living trust is a document signed by the trust maker and a notary public that details what you wish to happen to your estate after your death. Because you’ve placed your assets in the trust, even after you pass, the trust is a living document, which means it doesn’t have to go The best way to avoid all the time, publicity, and cost of probate is to
This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Patriot Wealth and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney. Investment Advisory Services is offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors (RWA), a Registered Investment Advisor. Patriot Wealth and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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