It’s not unusual for a dispute to arise over someone’s estate after they’re gone. In fact, when the glue that holds a family together has passed away it’s something that easily can happen Unfortunately, when it does, you’re no longer around to enforce your wishes.
Sometimes heirs are intentionally left out. Sometimes a person does not have close family members and their next of kin are distant relatives they hardly know or have never even met.
Let’s spend a moment to cover both of those scenarios and why a revocable living trust is a good idea.
When an estate goes through probate, one of the requirements is that notice of the probate must be given to what the law defines as “interested parties.” Interested parties are those who are named as beneficiaries under the Will and your heirs-at-law. Your heirs-at-law are defined in the Wisconsin statutes as those who would receive your estate had you died without a Will or intestate.
Then one of two things must happen.
Either A: The court will set a hearing date to determine whether any of the interested parties’ objects to the appointment of the nominated Personal Representative and/or whether anyone contests the Will. That date will be at least one or two months out in the future and while you wait to see if anyone objects nothing can be done to probate the estate. All the estate assets are frozen. If someone does object, then it is litigation.
Or B: We must send a letter to each of the interested parties and ask them to sign a Waiver and Consent which waives that hearing. If someone doesn’t sign, then it’s back to route A.
Either way those persons that you intentionally did not name in your Will get involved in the process.
A Revocable Living Trust
When you use a revocable living trust, there is no court rule that says who needs receive notice or be involved in the process. Only the four corners of the document decide who gets involved.
Even if you’ve discussed your estate plan with your family at length and they’re all comfortable with its content, having a Revocable Living Trust takes away a major opportunity for disgruntled or distant heirs to re-write your instructions after you are gone. And for those with family relationships that are strained, this type of planning will keep everyone well protected from the greedy ones.
A trust can help you achieve your goals
Contact our Madison estate planning attorneys today so that you when the time comes, you have documents in place that work according to your plan. Complete this contact form or call (608) 447-0006 to schedule your consultation!