Case Study: Estate Planning
One of our clients owned a number of commercial properties as well as his personal residence and numerous interests in other partnerships. While he had done a lot of planning in connection with his commercial properties and his business interests, he believed that his estate plan was complete because he and his wife each had a will.
We explained how a properly funded trust can avoid the necessity of opening a probate, thereby resulting in a quicker and much more cost efficient administration of the overall estate.
What We Did:
When we met with the client for the first time, we congratulated him on the fact that he had done at least some planning. We then took the time to explain to him the difference between a will and a trust. We explained to him that a will, like a trust, allows you to dictate who will manage your estate when you die, and to whom your estate will be distributed. Unlike a trust, however, we explained that a will requires that a probate be opened on the decedent’s death. Probate is the process whereby an individual’s estate is administered subject to the court’s oversight. We then explained that the fees to administer a probate are calculated as a percentage of the gross value of the estate and that a probate will usually take a minimum of six months to administer. We also explained how a properly funded trust can avoid the necessity of opening a probate, thereby resulting in a quicker and much more cost efficient administration of the overall estate. Following our advice, the client elected to establish a trust.