Probate 3

 

Time to get back to work, I am a Paralegal not a Lawyer. So this is in no way to be construed or taken for legal advice, so as before this is only legal information. Let’s not forget that when a layer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.

Picking up on Probate. Probate is a legal system focused on taking care of things after you die or if you become unable to look after yourself because of a major injury. Namely it takes care of who is in charge and how someone will handle your Will and take care of your Estate after you leave or if you become injured too. Simply put, Probate Law will make sure your wishes are followed and no one is cheated.

Right now I am focused on Living Wills. Living Wills deal with what you want to happen when bad things happen to you but you are still in the land of the living.

SIDE-NOTE:  A Testamentary Will is a Will telling your loved ones what you want to happen after you leave this world.  It is a legal document filed with your lawyer, or left with a loved one. Either after you leave or while you are still living it has been validated by the Probate Courts. This will cost your Estate $190. Once again this price can varies depending on which state you in. But not by very much.

Just so you know there are several different types of Wills. Such dealing with different types of problems and situations. I will try to explain the different types later on. However if you have any concerns about which Will you may need; Please God See a Lawyer!!

In my last Probate article I talked about Conservators. Now let’s talk about Guardians. The most well-known Guardianship involves children. In such a case you have made a Testamentary Will or a regular Will. In this Will you named someone you trust to look after your children A Guardian is very similar to a Conservator, except that a guardian has limitations for example a child guardianship has to be approved by the courts.   There are several different types of Guardians in addition to child guardianship. Using the more common children guardianship as an example, you could assign someone to look after your kids and another person to look after any property or money you leave them. It depends on what part and or how much of your life you want your guardian to protect.  Under a Living Will you can appoint Cousin Fred to look after your money and only your money and with the same Living Will you can appoint your mother to look after your kids.  You can even appoint your 12 year old niece Harriet as Guardian for your beloved dog Niki.

Next week I will be talking more about Guardianship and about the Durable Power of Attorney. Just so you know you do not have to be an Attorney to have Durable Power of Attorney.

Probate 2

Again, I am not a lawyer I am a paralegal. So this isn’t legal advice this is legal information. Also let us not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an issue.

All right let’s talk about Conservatorship, A Conservatorship does come under probate but a Conservator can also be appointed under Family Law. A Conservator is someone a probate court judge allows to have control over your medical, business, financial and personal affairs while you are laying there strapped into life support. Also a Conservator could be appointed if you have suffered such a severe head trauma that you, at least for the time being, have a hard time figuring out how to put your pants on.  It is going to cost whoever asks for conservatorship $400 in filing fees. That doesn’t include support documentation an expert in going to have to sign off on.  Most Conservators will have to hire an attorney to deal with the huge pile of legal issues that go with their job and that can really run up the legal bill. All of which is billed to and or reimbursed by your Estate.  Additionally a Conservator literal has the right to sell your house and treasures without your okay. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to get your stuff back if your conservator does rip you off if don’t have a Living Will/ Testament Will. On the flip side if a loved one becomes your conservator, he or she becomes responsible for all your debts. It is their job to see that all your bills get paid. This means that they will have access to all your banks accounts, social security payments any source of income you have. However, even after your loved one has been forced to empty your bank accounts and has sold everything of value you have to pay your bills, Debtors can still come after your loved one for any money you may still owe and take their money and or assets. Now if you manage to recover thing can become really difficult. Proving to the court you no longer need a ‘conservator’.  You see if your ‘conservator’ fights you this will cost you in lawyer and court fees. Under Conservatorship getting access to your money to pay for a lawyer to help you get rid of the conservator is up to the conservator and or probate court.

Having a Living Will is the best and cheapest way to avoid most of this mess. With a Living Will you can appoint someone you totally trust to become your ‘Legal Guardian’ and or ‘Conservator’ if you become too ill to take care of your needs.  A Living Will fully  or validated in probate courts you can make sure that the Conservator and or Guardian appointed over you is protected and double sure they are someone you trust.

Under a straight Will there are executors. Executor is someone you have appointed to make sure your last wishes are carried out.

More on Probate coming next week.

PROBATE

All right, once again I am not a lawyer, I am a Paralegal, so anything you read is not to be taken as, construed as, intended to be taken as legal advice.  Let’s not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involves you problem becomes an issue.

Okay let’s talk about Probate. Probate is a legal system focused on taking care of things after you die. Namely it takes care of who administers and how someone handles your Wills and your Estate after you leave. Simply put, Probate Law will make sure your wishes are followed and no one is cheated.

Let’s start with Wills.  Wills are binding legal documents describing what you would like done after your death.  For example you have an ancient beautiful grandfather’s clock that has been handed down through generations and you want it to go to your great-grandson Eric who has been in love with your clock since he was two.  With a Will you can make sure he gets it. Also if you think there might be a huge fight over your clock and you’re afraid that fight might hurt your family, you can order your clock sold and have the money equally divided among your heirs.  You can also leave directions on how to deal with your physical remains.  If you have children, you can leave directions about who you want to take care of them.

Speaking of wills, let’s talk about a living will.  A living will is once again a legal binding document. It deals with what you want done if things go bad with your health.  You can direct how long you want to be kept on life support, or how far your doctors can go as they try to save your life.  If your heart stops do you want CPR?  Who can make decisions about your care or what life support measures can be used in your care. If can’t think for yourself but don’t need life support who do you want making decisions about your care.

Probate law also covers your life insurance policies. Making sure your loved ones gets their money and what you want done with it gets done.

An Estate is your money, for example bank accounts, even to your last tax refund and personal property such as cars, jewelry and art work. Of course let’s not forget your house.

SIDE-NOTE: Just so you know the infamous Estate Tax as of 2013 does not come into play unless you have property and assets worth over $5,250,000.  I don’t know too many people in my world

with those kind of assets.

SIDE-NOTE; An Asset in the legal world is anything such as a house, car, jewelry bank accounts or stocks and bonds. Or say you have written a book and it sells fairly well. It can be anything as long as it has a money value attached to it.

This is Probate next week I will be getting into the actual costs of the Probate Legal System.