Elderly man writing last will and testament

A Will Is Not the Best Way to Pass Your Inheritance

Most people look at a will as a foolproof way to pass on their inheritance to their loved ones. Gleaning from property lawyers in Townsville, although a will ensures that your assets are distributed equitably, it’s hardly the most effective method. Once you’re gone, your entire estate enters probate, which is a slow and costly legal process.

The court system consolidates your assets then pays your debts before passing on the remainder to your heir. That is after taking a significant portion of the estate to meet the cost of the probate process.

Unnecessary Costs

Most people work hard their entire lives to provide for their family and loved ones. It would be unfortunate that you’d spend most of life building wealth only to cede some of it to the state unnecessarily. When your estate enters probate, the process is likely to gobble up to five per cent of the estate’s value.

That is to say that your family loses $50,000 on an estate valued at a million dollars. The process involves the executor of your will as well as an attorney. If your executor is not on your will, they might be entitled to compensation for their efforts. There are no set probate fees for attorneys, with many states leaving it for the court to decide what amount to a reasonable figure or percentage. Other costs involved include appraiser’s fee and court costs.

Tying Up Your Estate

Your loved ones can access their inheritance before the probate process is complete. That could be anywhere between weeks, months, or even years depending on the complexity of your estate. Most of the probate process is clerical and entail filling a small mountain of forms. If there’s no conflict of interest or contesting parties, the matter might be concluded quickly.

In most cases, the process hardly requires the skills of an attorney, but the legality of it is best handled by one. Depending on the state, there might be a few routine court appearances. In some countries, the entire process can be handled by mail.

An Easy Way Out

Elderly man in hospital with legal adviser

Instead of subjecting your heirs to a lengthy and unnecessary legal process that eats into their inheritance, there’s a better method. Instead of writing a will, you can establish a living trust. Such a legal device establishes how your properties will be distributed after your demise. Such a trust gives you total control over your assets when you’re alive, and after your passing, the successor trustee will handle the property distribution as per your wishes. On great advantage of a living trust is that it keeps your financial affairs from becoming a public record as is the case with a will.

Writing a will is not the best way to pass inheritance to your children or beneficiaries. Your entire estate will enter the lengthy probate process before it can reach your heir. During this time, you might subject your family to a lot of financial strain as they can’t access any money from your estate. Again, the process is likely to gobble up to five per cent of the estate’s value.