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Estate planning basics to avoid probate litigation

Here in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, residents need to consider estate planning. The fact is, not all people are keen to anticipate what happens to the estate after death. However, ignoring the implications of probate may mar the relationships of the heirs. Probate litigation can be costly and time-consuming. Estate planning mistakes are common, but with proper research, people can avoid these common errors.

A testator should keep the estate plan documents in place. This means that a person should draft a will, complete asset ownership forms, designate beneficiaries, trust and medical directives that are coordinated. Failing to do so may cause confusion and disputes between heirs. People who are estate planning should also title their assets properly, especially for married people who would like to deride the effect of joint tenancy.

Monitoring beneficiary forms is also worthwhile to ensure that the benefits will go to the right person. This includes retirement plans, insurance and annuities owned. Beneficiaries listed in these investments will outdo what is written in the will, and it is hard to contest. A testator must also have accessible copies of the estate plan. This can be done by securing copies of the wills, forms and trusts online.

Revocable living trusts needs funding. The owner of the estate should transfer the assets in order to ensure that it will be managed and to avoid probate. The estate plan should also be sensitive to the current inheritance tax. Although estate taxes have exemptions, other taxes, like property gains, transfer and trust taxes, may burden the estate. The estate plan should also use no-contest clauses in a proper manner to avoid a will contest, if an heir did not receive inheritance.

A will must follow state rules. Some people may find do-it-yourself wills practical, but this may cause the will to be invalid. Trusts can also help if there are minor heirs.

There are different resources and people who can help locals of Pennsylvania to avoid probate litigation. Among them, estate planners and legal professionals can guide many people on which estate-planning tool will best benefit them. In addition, legal professionals can walk the testator through how legal matters may implicate their estate plans.

Source: Life Health PRO, "10 steps for avoiding estate planning mistakes," Ed McCarthy, June 6, 2013.

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Larmore Scarlett LLP

Larmore Scarlett, LLP
123 E. Linden Street,
P.O. Box 384

Kennett Square, PA 19348

Phone: 610-444-3737
Fax: 610-444-9532
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