Probate

ProbateHave you had a loved one recently pass? Are you unsure how to distribute the decedent’s estate or where to begin in administering an estate. Call today to talk to an experienced attorney in estate administration and probate matters.

What is Probate?

A court procedure by which a Will is proved to be valid or invalid; though in current usage this term has been expanded to generally included all matters and proceedings pertaining to administration of estates, guardianships, etc. A court system and process under which an Executor/Personal Representative (Testate) or Administrator (Intestate) oversees the settlement of an estate following Basic Estate and Incapacity Planning an individual’s death. The probate court also appoints a Guardian or Custodian for an incapacitated adult (or minor children). Guardianship is a probate proceeding occurring during an individual’s life.

The essential purpose of the probate court system is to oversee and re-title assets held by a decedent, minor or ward.

  1. Assets Subject to Probate:

    A.) All assets held in your name individually at the time of your death.
    B.) Property held as a “Tenant in Common” (a separate interest not subject to survivorship rights).
    C.) Proceeds of Life Insurance and other Beneficiary Designations (Pensions, IRA, etc.) made payable to your estate.

  2. Assets Not Subject to Probate:

    A) Assets titled in and held by a Revocable Trust.
    B) “Payable on Death”
    C) Beneficiary Designations and/or Proceeds of Life Insurance made payable to someone other than the decedent’s gross estate (Pensions, IRAs, etc.).

  3. Disadvantages of Probate:

    A) Court Supervision: While not always undesirable, especially in contested matters or those involving creditors, court supervision adds administrative requirements and deadlines. Court officials may review all estate decisions and make periodic determinations as to whether all requirements have been met. A degree of control by one’s family is lost at this juncture. A lack of flexibility becomes a part of the process.
    B) Costs: Executor/Personal Representative, Legal and Court fees attributable solely to probate can increase costs for the administration of an estate.
    C) Public Records: Any and all estate documents, including wills, inventories, and court accountings become public records and are available to the general public for review.
    D) Time & Delays: Most jurisdictions permit a will to be contested for a statutory period following the date of death. Consequently, many Executors/Personal Representatives will not distribute assets until after the statutory period has passed. Frequently court-supervised administration can add years to the process.
    E) Locations of Assets: Individually held real property located in different states will require a probate proceeding in each state. This ancillary probate can create additional administrative costs and delays. If a trust holds the property in its name, probate is not required.

How the process works?

  • Initially, we will meet with you during a one-hour free consultation to understand your specific situation and goals.
  • After assessing your information and input, we will review your options with you and recommend a plan that meets your goals and needs.
  • We will provide you with a flat rate fee quote for the costs. The plan will be comprehensive and will include all charges.
  • At that point, you will decide whether or not you want to proceed.
  • Should you choose to proceed, we will have you complete the enclosed estate planning questionnaire.
  • We will provide you with a written action list to specifically outline the steps to be taken by both parties.
  • Within two weeks of receiving your information, we will mail/email drafts for your review.
  • After you have reviewed your drafts, we will answer your questions and make any necessary changes.
  • Once all changes have been made, we will schedule an appointment to sign your final documents.
  • Once all documents are signed, I will return the originals to you and will retain a scanned copy in my files.
  • We will provide you with a closing letter detailing the important contents of your documents.

Why Should You Choose Us To Help You?

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Our Philosophy

We believe that each estate plan is unique to each client we serve. We strive to gain the best estate plan tailored to each client’s needs. Through the use of a customized questionnaire that elicits the necessary information from our clients, we consistently obtain successful results.

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Friendly Atmosphere

We strive to provide our clients with top notch customer service. We love the work that we do. We enjoy helping my clients through difficult life decisions and provide a friendly, no-pressure attitude.

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Transparency

We believe in being honest and transparent when dealing with our clients. We provide the option of a flat-rate fee for estate planning documents. Therefore, our clients know exactly how much they will be required to spend for their estate plan before starting.

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Cost-Effective Pricing

We understand clients need effective estate plans at affordable prices. We complete our work in the most cost effective way possible thereby saving clients significant amounts.

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Free Consultations

Sit down today with an experienced estate planning attorneys and get an honest evaluation of your estate based on the facts you provide. We will explain the most suitable plan for your life needs, specific documents you should consider including in your estate plan, what to expect when working with us on your estate plan, and how to keep an effective estate plan throughout your future.

About Us

Our job as estate planning attorneys is not finished the day you sign your estate documents and walk out our door. As life continues, the administration of your trust and estate brings with it a stream of new questions and concerns. Our firm wants to be there to answer those questions for you. Planning for the future can be a difficult and confusing process. Our team will work hard to earn your trust and provide you with a positive experience.
Brooke Hullinger, Esq.

Brooke Hullinger, Esq.

Estate Planning Attorney

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