BEFORE A PERSON DIES, it is important to have a Will or Trust in place to be sure the assets pass according to person’s wishes. A Will or Trust will help to avoid future family conflicts and court proceedings.
Without a Will or Trust, a person’s estate may be probated in a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering decedent’s assets; paying taxes, debts, and expenses; and distributing the balance to beneficiaries. Probate deals with transferring the property of someone who has died (decedent) to the heirs or beneficiaries, deciding if a Will/Codicil is valid, and taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person who has died. A person dies either “testate”, meaning decedent left a Will/Codicil or “intestate”, meaning the decedent left no Will/Codicil.