If you've managed to acquire some wealth throughout your life, your relatives are the natural beneficiaries of your assets when you pass away. However, probate issues can lock up those assets so that your relatives cannot use them until a lengthy court process is over. Help them by heeding this advice.
Settle Your Debts and Taxes
One of the first tasks you must handle before passing away is to ensure that no one other than your relatives will make an attempt to get your assets. Of particular concern are your debts and taxes; any creditors that are outstanding after your death can create probate issues which have to be tackled before any assets can be split among your relatives. Depending on how much you owe, your relatives might get nothing at all when the process is complete.
To ensure your relatives receive what you intend, start working with a financial adviser or probate lawyer, like Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C., to set up a plan for paying the debts you've got. You may need to liquidate some assets now in order to remove that concern from your mind.
Talk with Family
Your own relatives might be the reason that probate proceedings move forward. This is especially true if one relative believes they are more entitled to a bank account or other asset than the person you've named. Ugly family disagreements often find their way into court after someone has passed away, and it is naive to imagine that this is an impossibility for your own family. That's why you've got to talk to everyone.
Letting your plans be known today can allow those who won't get what they expect the time they need to express their irritation directly with you instead of taking it out on others. You may be able to calm them or explain in a way that would make them unlikely to cause further trouble later. If they seem inconsolable, you can take additional steps to protect your beneficiaries. For instance, if you think a relative will dispute your decision not to pass on a family business to them, you can set up joint ownership with your choice now so that when you die, the right person automatically assumes the company.
Starting to think about probate issues now is a smart way to help your relatives and be confident about your legacy. A probate attorney can be a knowledgeable partner who can ensure that your wishes for your estate are respected.