Here at the Law Office of Michael Robinson, we are proud to be able to serve people that live in Ontario, New York. Its motto is “A Community of Good Neighbors,” and this describes it quite well. Ontario is a historic place that was originally established in 1807, and it is beautifully nestled on the shore of the lake that shares the same name.
Enjoy Life With Peace of Mind
Ontario is a great place to call home, and you can enjoy everything it has to offer with no worries if you take the right steps to carefully craft your legacy. There are a number of different ways that you can facilitate asset transfers to your loved ones, and the right choice will depend upon the circumstances.
Many people assume a last will is the right asset transfer vehicle, but this is not always the case.
Why would you want to consider another option? If you use a last will to state your final wishes, the executor that you name would be required to admit the will to probate. In Ontario, probate matters are handled by the Wayne County Surrogate’s Court.
During probate, creditors are given a certain amount of time to come forward seeking satisfaction, and these final debts must be paid, including taxes. Assets must be identified and inventoried by the executor, and in many cases, appraisals and liquidations will be necessary.
Even if there are no considerable complications, it will take about a year for the court to probate an estate. The problem with the time consumption is the fact that the heirs do not receive their inheritances until the estate has been closed. In addition to the unpleasant waiting game, there are innumerable expenses that accumulate during probate.
Anyone that wants to contest the validity of a last will can do so during probate. This is a necessary safeguard, and in fairness, there are legitimate estate challenges. However, in many instances, a disgruntled or opportunistic party will come forward to muddy the waters. A scurrilous challenge can elongate an already lengthy process.
The final drawback of probate that we will touch upon here is the loss of privacy. If you have ever read about the way that deceased celebrities distributed their resources, you may wonder why that information is available to reporters. Probate is a public proceeding, so anyone that has an interest can access probate records to find out what took place during the process.
It is possible to avoid all these pitfalls through the utilization of a relatively straightforward, widely embraced estate planning alternative. A revocable living trust is a versatile tool that offers a host of different benefits. First and perhaps foremost, assets in the trust can be distributed after your passing outside of probate. As a result, these negatives are completely avoided.
Some people harbor a commonly held misconception about trusts of all kinds. They assume that you have to essentially surrender the assets that you convey into a trust. This is not true when it comes to a revocable living trust. You can act as the trustee and the beneficiary throughout your life, so you can take assets out of the trust at any time and convey additional assets into it.
The ultimate goal is to use the trust as an estate planning device, so you name a successor trustee to take over the role when the time comes, and you name successor beneficiaries to receive distributions. These distributions would not be subject to probate, and you can leave instructions regarding how you want the assets to be passed along.
For example, you may not want to leave lump sum inheritances because you want to prolong the viability of the trust. Under these circumstances, if you have income producing assets in it, the trust declaration could instruct the trustee to distribute the earnings so that the principal can continue to generate income. This is just one possibility, but there are many others.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you are an Ontario, New York resident, our doors are wide open if you would like to discuss your estate planning goals with one of our attorneys. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 585-374-5210.