Wills/Estate Planning/Probate

Estate Planning – Everybody should have an Estate Plan, a Will, perhaps a Trust, and certainly a Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Directive.  A Power of Attorney empowers another to act on your behalf when need arises.  A Healthcare Directive authorizes another to instruct your doctor when you are unable.  Mark W. Kelly has assisted hundreds of clients on these matters. 

Wills – A Simple Will is often sufficient, but it must be properly prepared and executed if it is to have effect.  A simple will should be supported by a power of attorney and healthcare directive.  Those with minor children often consider a Contingent Trust Will.  Those needing more structure look to a Revocable Trust to manage their affairs now and after death.  A Trust also requires a power of attorney, a healthcare directive and a pour-over-will.  If your net worth is greater than a million dollars, estate tax planning must be addressed and the advice of a CPA may be needed.  Mr. Kelly can guide you through the estate planning process, in a manner that is efficient and prepare the documents you need at a reasonable cost.  Please call for an appointment.

Trusts – A Trust is a valuable tool, especially if you have wealth in need of custodial management or anticipate future need of professional assistance in the management of your personal affairs.  Trusts can serve to avoid probate, as they contain will provisions instructing how property should be distributed on death.  Mr. Kelly can answer your trust questions and educate you on the benefits and process of trust creation and management.

Probate – Probate is a court process by which assets of a deceased are distributed after creditors are paid.  “Probate” is often necessary when the deceased held real estate, stocks, and bonds, or bank accounts in their name alone. A probate proceeding takes time to ensure all creditors have a chance to come forward, property is listed and sold, and all heirs properly treated.  Costs can be managed by electing to use an informal probate process, which avoids presenting matters to a judge unless necessary.

Avoiding Probate – Many desire to ‘avoid’ probate.  A trust is the most common method employed.  Due to complexity, setting up and managing a trust going forward can be cost prohibitive.  However, there are other steps that, if taken before death, may eliminate need for probate.  For example, a prime reason probate proceedings are needed is that the deceased owned real estate at death.  Mr. Kelly can assist in arranging for the automatic transfer of real estate on death.  This is a good way to address distribution of the home. If this is done, probate may not be needed.