Many people may not realize how simple it is to avoid probate if they engage in timely estate planning. Taking a few steps to sit down with an experienced attorney and assess which estate planning tool can be useful given one's situation can be one method to avoid the time consuming and energy draining process that is probate.
After the death of a loved one, actions begin almost immediately to manage the affairs of the estate. When the deceased individual incorporated a trust into their estate plan, the trustee must abide by the terms of the trust to distribute trust assets.
Executors are tasked with the heavy burden of distributing the decedent's estate, making sure all the relevant taxes are paid and all the legal formalities to conclude the estate are completed. While their authority is very broad and they have a great deal of discretion in navigating the probate courts, their power is not absolute. They have limits placed on their activities by virtue of their fiduciary duty to the estate.
Generally speaking, it's not easy to get a court to rule a will is invalid. For the most part, as long as the will follows all the formal requirements, a court is likely to find it is enforceable.
With advances in health care, Americans are living longer lives and well into retirement. Some of these elderly people are vulnerable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 47 million citizens are over the age of 70.