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800-564-1856 419-624-1856
Don’t let your life savings be diminished
by the high cost of probate or destroyed
from ever increasing long term care expenses.
We can help protect your legacy.
We handle a great deal of probate cases at my office. In fact, if someone has passed away in your family, we can
probably help you. However, whenever I work on these cases I often wonder why so many people allow their
assets to go through probate. Did they not know there were other choices? Did they not know how expensive
probate can be? I am also often saddened when I see a person’s Will that leaves the assets equally to all the
children, but the assets pass outside of the Will and do not follow the person’s wishes. Below, I will address some
of the common misconceptions many people have.
False belief # 1:
I have a Will so my assets will avoid probate.
Truth: If an asset passes through the Will, the assets shall go through probate. You should think of your
Will as a fancy letter to the probate judge giving instructions to the judge on who you want the court to
appoint to be in charge (your executor) and who you want your assets to go to once the debts are paid.
False belief # 2:
My Will controls where all my assets pass upon my death.
Truth: Your Will only controls those assets in your name at death where you have not named a beneficiary
or where there is no surviving co-owner who has survivorship rights. If you put a child on an account or on
real estate, it is generally as a joint owner with survivorship rights. This means even though your Will says
your assets are to be divided equally between your children, this isn’t what happens. Instead, your bank
account or real estate that you have added a child to will pass to that child only. Additionally, by adding
your child to your accounts or real estate, you have now potentially made your assets part of your child’s
divorce case. You have also put your assets at risk if a child gets in a car wreck and gets sued. In addition,
when you add a child to real estate, you have made a gift for Medicaid purposes and caused unintended tax
consequences through the partial loss of a stepped up tax basis upon death.
Other false beliefs I often encounter:
My IRA/401k isn’t counted as assets by Medicaid (these assets are counted).
I have a trust and therefore my assets are protected from the nursing home (If you have the ability
to take assets out of the trust as you desire, then the trust does not protect your assets).
Going through probate is expensive and generally not necessary. A house worth $100,000 going
through probate can create probate fees between $4,000 to $8,000.
In order to avoid probate while
maintaining a plan that gets your assets where you truly want them to go without risking your assets to
your child’s creditors or to divorce proceedings or to unexpected tax consequences takes a bit of planning.
However, this planning doesn’t have to be complicated.
Please call us to schedule a free consultation to discuss ways to avoid probate. If you want to go
further than just avoiding probate, we can also discuss ways to protect your assets from the high cost of
long term care. Call now for your free appointment.
“Protecting your independence and preserving your wealth”
310 East Boalt Street, Suite E. Sandusky, Ohio 44870
An Estate Planning and Elder Care Firm
(419) 626-0684