Berman & Asbel, LLP

Avoiding probate in Pennsylvania

Probate is designed to ensure that a person's possessions are passed on to the individuals that they were intended to go to. Although this is a good thing, the process is one that is often time consuming and can be very costly. It can take months for a will to go through probate, and this is why many people create estate plans with the purpose of avoiding the process altogether.

One popular method of avoiding probate is to create a living trust. With a living trust, there are three roles that must be filled: the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiary. The grantor is the individual who creates the trust, the trustee controls and manages the trust and the beneficiary is the individual who is provided with benefits from the trust.

All three of these roles can be filled by the same person. This means that a person can put a business or set of assets into a trust and set another person, in addition to themselves, as a beneficiary. When the person who created the trust dies, there's no need to go through probate since the property didn't technically belong to them. The contents of the trust will automatically pass on to the beneficiaries.

An estate planning lawyer could assist clients in ensuring that their documents are current according to legal standards and their particular circumstances. Along with ensuring that documents follow the law, people should keep them up to date based on their current situation. Births, deaths, divorces and marriages can have a significant effect on how people want their assets distributed, and failing to change a will or a trust could keep people from being given property that the owner would have wanted them to have.

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