When a loved one passes away, you may be tasked with the responsibility of executing their estate. In some circumstances, this may mean that you will need to go through probate to ensure that the assets are distributed according to your loved one's final wishes.
As is well known, the death of a loved one tends to bring families closer together or to tear them apart. In some cases, maybe a little of both. Families find many things to fight about when a parent or loved one dies. Understandably, the fighting is often not only about a specific asset, but about what that asset represents. Personal items that belonged to the loved one can bear a lot of sentimental value and therefore can become the center of bitter family disputes.
Our readers may have heard the buzz about digital assets in estate planning. The idea is pretty simple: because more and more people are dying with significant digital assets to their name, more people need to be thinking about how their digital assets will be disposed after their death and taking the necessary steps.
Most people like to feel important and receive some kind of recognition of their importance from family, at some level. Within families, there are various ways this recognition cane come: a request to be a best man or maid/matron of honor; a guardian; a godparent; a caregiver for an aging parent; and so on. Within the estate planning world, this recognition can come with being asked to serve as an executor of an estate or as the trustee of a trust.
When an individual dies without a will they are said to die "intestate". As such, according to state laws, their assets are to be valued and distributed through a process known as probate. Many individuals take steps to avoid probate as it can be lengthy and expensive. What's more, information pertaining to an estate that has gone through probate becomes public record.