Three Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Probate Administration and Litigation


Laws can be complex and people are often surprised to learn how various laws affect them. This is especially true when it comes to probate law. Did you know:

Your Will Can Benefit Your Pet

Most of us adopt a pet knowing he or she will likely pass before us. Our main concern is losing our pal, but what about if the pet were to outlive us? Have you made arrangements for the care of your furry friend if he or she survives your passing?

While it isn’t possible to actually leave your wealth or property to your pet directly, you can create a trust intended to provide for a pet in your absence. This ensures money is allocated to your pet’s veterinary care, food, licensing, and anything else needed to stay happy and healthy once you’re gone.

Additionally, you can appoint a person responsible for your pet’s care and leave additional funding in reward for caring for your precious pet. This person can also be given specific instructions concerning the care of your pet. Pet trust funds are fairly common and a probate attorney can help you make the arrangements in advance of your passing.probate attorney can help you make the arrangements in advance of your passing.

A Handwritten Will Might be Enforceable

A will is typically thought of as an official document, signed and sealed by an attorney. This is the best case scenario and most of the time wills are formally written. However, in some states, it is perfectly legal to handwrite a will and expect it hold up in court. A handwritten will is known as a holographic will. In order for it to be legal it must meet certain requirements, many of which are the same as a standard will. Additionally, it must be written entirely (or at least the materials portion) by the decedent. It must be signed and it might be required to undergo handwriting analysis and confirmation.

Most people avoid handwritten wills, but there are emergency circumstances under which it is the only option. A handwritten will is likely to receive greater scrutiny in the court. Should the will be found invalid, the state determines the distribution of property, so the decedent has no say. It is as if no will ever existed.

Without a Will the Government Will Own Your Home

Many people assume without a will, things will just “work out for the best” once they are gone. After all, they reason, who could possibly be interested in their meager assets?

The answer to that question is: the government. Without a legal will, possessions will enter probate and might transfer ownership to the state. If nobody fights for the assets, they become unclaimed property.

If you have specific desires related to your possessions and you want to ensure your loved ones inherit possessions from your estate, make sure you detail these wishes in a legal will. No matter how small your fortune or how inconsequential things might seem after you pass you want to be sure your loved ones benefit in whichever way you choose.

Do you want to avoid probate and litigation concerning your estate once you’re gone? You have options. Contact Miller and Steiert, P.C. for more information.


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