*This article is for general information purposes only and is not meant as professional or legal advice. For accurate information, please consult a professional.
When it comes to inheritance there are many questions that people have. It is difficult to know what to expect when a loved one dies and how to manage everything that comes with it. You also want to plan in advance to try to make it easier for your loved ones when your time comes.
You might be wondering how you can go about preparing for that time. Here are some questions you might have and some general answers. Keep in mind that every state has different laws, so it will be important to check the specific laws in your state when you delve deeper into inheritance laws.
Do I Have to Go through Probate?
You might not have to go through probate, but it’s probably a good idea to do so. This will protect you against liability and costly problems that could arise in the future if a will or estate is attested.
What Does an Executor Do?
This is an important job. The person who is named as the executor of an estate has the responsibility of managing the estate. He or she will be responsible for distributing the estate property and funds. They must make sure that their actions are in the best interest of the estate and its heirs. You can’t act in a way that could be construed as doing something for your own gain at the detriment of the estate.
Will I Get Anything from the Estate?
This will depend on a lot of factors. For example, is there a will? If there is and you’ve been named in it, then yes, you will get something from the estate – assuming the will is valid. If there is no will, then heirs as determined by state law will get the estate. If you are entitled to the estate, then the amount you get will be determined by the size of the estate and how many debts have to be paid from the estate.
What Makes a Will Invalid?
There are a number of things that can invalidate a will – one being that if a second will was written, the more recent one is most likely the valid will. If a will hasn’t been signed properly, it might make it invalid in some states. If a will is signed when a person is considered to be incompetent or under undue influence, then the will can be invalid.
There might be other things that can invalidate a will, but these are the most common reasons. Check with a probate attorney.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is sometimes used in estate planning to avoid going through probate, or to withhold property until certain conditions are met. So for example if you have minor children you might want to put money in a trust for them that they can gain access to when they have reached a certain age of maturity.
These are just some of the common questions that come up when dealing with an inheritance. You will want to check with an attorney in the state where a person died to get more information on the laws and how they are applied.