If your desire is keep matters related to your estate out of court, a properly prepared estate plan can help you accomplish that goal.
Use of a Revocable Living Trust Avoids Probate
Assets that are held in a Revocable Living Trust do not need to go though Probate. In contrast, if you only have a Will or no estate plan at all (other than the plan imposed the state), then for most estates Probate will be required. Probate involves going to court, is less private, and can be expensive.
A Revocable Living Trust that includes Incapacity Planning Avoids Conservatorships
A properly drawn Trust will not only deal with what happens to your property when you die (like a Will), but can also cover how your property will be managed if you can no longer manage it yourself (i.e. you become incapacitated). If you do not have a proper incapacity plan in place, your loved ones may need to go to court to establish a conservatorship to help you handle your affairs. Conservatorships involve court action, may not precisely fit your needs, and can be expensive.
Be Precise in Your Planning
You should use a competent estate planning attorney to help you articulate and specify your wishes. The more precise and less ambiguous your plan, the less likely the plan is going to end up in court.
Select Good Helpers
Use care in choosing your Successor Trustees. You should consider the skills needed to serve in that role and ensure that the persons or entities you choose are worthy of your trust. If you do not feel that you have someone you can trust, you may want to consider using a Professional Fiduciary to fill that role. Having a competent Successor Trustee may help to keep your plan out of court.
If Possible, Share Your Plan With Those Effected
This is not always possible, but when appropriate, you should share the nature of and reasons for your plan with those effected. This can serve to eliminate confusion, ambiguity and resentment, which are all factors that can lead to the plan ending up in court.
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