Probate, Wills, Trusts & Estates
Probate, Wills, Trusts & Estates
Navigating the legal system regarding the disposal of estates can be a challenge if you are not familiar with all local, state, and federal laws concerning their validity. You may have no idea what the state and federal government expect as you draft your will or set up a trust for your family. You likewise may not be familiar with the finer points of probate laws that could affect the accessibility of your assets after you pass on.
Rather than go through the legal process armed only with the incomplete and often misleading information you find on the internet or from a friend or relative, navigate the system successfully and easily by allowing Smart and Associates probate, wills, trust and estates professionals guide and advise you of all the options and possibilities. Find out how we can help you with all matters pertaining to probate, wills, trusts and estates and other areas of probate law, and what advantages we can offer you as your legal counsel.
What’s the difference between a Trust and a Will?
The main purpose of both is to officially and legally name the beneficiaries (people or persons who get the benefit) of any asset you no longer need after you die. A will simply names each unit of property and assigns a person as the receiver of that unit after your decease.
A Trust on the other hand, functions as a transfer of your property into a special legal/financial category before a will is needed. It moves the ownership of certain assets from you to someone or some institution before you pass on, and has a number of advantages to a simple will.
Establishing a trust means that you give up control of all assets included in it. For example, if you include real estate in your trust, you can’t then sell it yourself and use the profits- only the trust custodians can do that. On the other hand, a trust is much harder to challenge in court, it avoids any probate process, it remains a private document (a will is public upon the writer’s death).
What does it mean when an estate goes into probate?
Probate is a period of time that allows for the verification of a will and settling the financial matters of the estate before it goes into effect. If your remaining assets are disposed of by a Last Will and Testament, they are managed by an executor (a person you choose to carry out the wishes expressed in the will). The executor’s task is to prove the validity of your will and to file with local court system a list of your property and who is supposed to get parts of your estate. Relatives and creditors are then given notice that the will is going into effect.
After the executor is finished paying off debts, liquidating some non-cash property, paying taxes, and a number of other requirements, the will is then enforced. The normal time period for probate is from a few months to a year in length.
We strongly believe that everyone with property that will outlast them should at least have a written and notarized will, that is as specific as possible. Wills can also cover what happens to children if both parents die.
Personalized and Prompt Service
As a smaller law firm for probate, wills, trusts and estates, we make it a point to value each and every client. We make it easy for you to access the legal help you need when drafting your will or setting up a trust. You do not have to worry about being a mere number or getting lost in the shuffle because of an overworked attorney’s vast caseload. We take the time to get to know you, your goals, preferences and desires, from the moment you call or walk through our doors.
Our person-centered approach also informs the decisions we help you make as you construct a plan for your final arrangements. You may not associate friendly service with lawyers, but once you get to know us, you’ll enjoy a sense of relief in the fact that you don’t have to put on a “negotiator persona” when you meet with our staff.
We also understand that you may want to get through this legal process without using up a large chunk of what you’d like to leave to your family. To that end we offer free consultations for all new clients- a time when you can interview us with the questions you want to ask. Get a hands-on sense for the kind of legal help we can offer. Setting up a free consultation with us is easy. Visit our website or give us a call to schedule your no-cost initial meeting today.
When you retain our services, you get legal representation that does more than just draft letters or fill out paperwork for you. You get a legal counselor who is ready and eager to offer you all of the expert advice you need regarding probate issues, wills, trusts or other estate planning.
Our lawyers thrive on educating clients on every topic regarding wills, trusts, and estates so that you have the facts needed to make sound and assertive decisions. Regardless of how much you know about estate laws going into the process, you will always have access to more information that you need to make the best choices for you and your family.
After we set up your estate and draft your will, help you through a probate process or set up a trust, our hope is that we’ve done more than just provided a service and that’s that. We value our long term relationships with all our clients. This means that if something else comes up in the future, you have the confidence in us to serve you again.
We make every attempt to maintain appropriate longer-term connections with all of our clients. The door to our firm is always open; come to us any time that you need legal help. Along with handling estates, wills, and trusts and the probate process, we also help people in the Georgia and South Carolina coastal Low Country with cases pertaining to personal injury, workers compensation, wrongful death, family law, medical malpractice, and more.
When you likewise want a lawyer whom you can call long after your estate paperwork is done, look no further than Smart and Associates and our qualified team of attorneys. We will remain your legal advocates for as long as you want or need our services.
Let our team of lawyers walk you through the steps of making sure your wishes are carried out upon your passing. Call or click to learn more about Smart and Associates and to set up your free initial consultation.
How Can We Help You?
As a small firm, we offer direct access to a skilled and experienced lawyer. We work to stay available and answer any questions you may have. In your free initial consultation, we will explain your rights and explore your options so that you can make informed decisions and have some control over the process and the outcome. Find out why our longstanding clients stay with us!