Handling the final affairs of someone who has passed away can be overwhelming. The same is true when helping someone who has become unable to take care of himself or herself anymore, in other words has become incapacitated. Often there are complicated issues to resolve.
Things can be a lot easier if the person who died or became incapacitated had the foresight to do estate planning like having a trust, a will, and powers of attorney in place.
The primary purpose of estate planning and having these documents is to avoid the work, time delay, and expense of a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding when someone dies or a conservatorship court proceeding if someone becomes incapacitated. Having these estate planning documents in place will make things easier and less expensive at death or lack of capacity.
That said, there is a bit of legal work that needs to happen at that time, even with estate plan documents in place. This legal work is required by law, and it will protect all people involved.
There should not be any single time-consuming or expensive task. Rather, normally it is simply a matter of providing certain notices, filing certain forms and documents with various government agencies, and communicating with everyone involved.
If someone has died and there is a trust, then normally the process can be completed within five or six months. Nobody can do it much more quickly than that because there is a notice to mail out four months prior to concluding the process, and usually it takes some time to gather the information to include in that notice. Still that is a lot better than a year or longer (and a lot more work) for the alternative, which is a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding.
If someone has become incapacitated and there is a trust and powers of attorney, then it may take only a matter of days to complete the entire process of getting the chosen person in charge of the incapacitated person. The alternative is a conservatorship court proceeding, which takes weeks or months to have someone put in charge.
This is why everyone should consider estate planning and having a trust, will, powers of attorney, and other related documents. It is the best way to avoid a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding and a conservatorship court proceeding, and it will make things much easier in the long run.