Mustang Times

Page 28 – Spring Living 2007 Special Edition

Living Trusts can beat the probate system.

By Carol Brimm
Staff Writer

Most people think a Will is the answer to their asset management problems when they die, but Rick Hollis says, most people don’t realize if you have a Will it must go through probate.

“Your desires are to leave an inheritance for loved ones.” Hollis said, “But the only people who win are the probate attorneys who were being paid from the estate assets.”

According to Hollis, most people have an estate, but do not realize it because minimum asset requirements for probate are so low that virtually anyone who owns their home must go through the probate process when loved ones transfer property ownership from a deceased persons name.

“Many attorneys will advise people that they don’t need a Living Trust,” Hollis said. “Be careful, this advice could cost your loved ones tens of thousands of dollars.”

Unfortunately, Hollis says probate, which means to prove a Will is valid, can take from six moths to three years and is costly, emotional, and extremely stressful for loved ones left behind. "Remember, bank accounts and assets are frozen during probate, but the bills go on," Hollis said.

“Probate expenses can reduce inheritance fortunes to nothing,” Hollis said. “Probate can be delayed after death, but it cannot be avoided entirely unless you have a properly funded Living Trust.”

According to Hollis, when a Living Trust is implemented and properly funded, you have beaten the probate system. However, it is reported that very few attorneys know how to properly write Living Trusts.

“It is hard to understand why individuals believe that court cost, attorney’s fees, and executors expenses for a long probate process will be less expensive than a Living Trust yet some people still believe that Wills are less expensive.” Hollis said. “A common question is, “Will I lose control of my assets in a Living Trust?”

The answer is NO! You have all the same powers that you now have as the current owner of your assets.”


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