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One of the most common questions about estate planning is whether someone should create a will or a trust. We can’t answer for you, but we can help you understand the pros and cons of each so that you can make an educated decision. 

The short answer here is no, debt does not pass to the heirs of the estate. But to understand the bigger question (what does it mean for me if my loved one died with debt?), we’ll need to dive a bit deeper into how probate works.

Do you need to hire a probate lawyer? There’s a good chance that you don’t — which is very good news because hiring a probate attorney can be quite expensive. Attorney fees for a simple estate are generally between $3,000 and $7,000.

Although every policy has a price tag, life insurance is generally seen as a “safe” investment — one that won’t result in surprising taxes or unforeseen deductions. But will the life insurance policy you purchased help your loved ones or hurt them? 

In addition to taking up many hours of your time and taxing your emotions, the probate process can be quite costly—sometimes eating into as much as 10% of the value of the estate. We’ve broken it down so you can understand where those dollars are going—and where you might be able to save.

A probate bond is a bond issued against the performance of the executor or administrator — a bit like an insurance policy that protects beneficiaries and creditors in the event the executor is negligent or engages in fraud with the estate’s assets. 

The probate process can be lengthy and exhausting. Knowing what documents you need can help ensure that you don’t lose any important documents or fail to manage critical portions of the estate process simply because you didn’t know they existed. 

You’re already dealing with the loss of a loved one, and now you’ve discovered that they died with more debt than you (or perhaps they) realized. It’s certainly not what you’d hope for, but it also might not be as bad as you fear. In all likelihood, you're not responsible for paying the estate’s debts. 

After the death of a loved one, family members often have to handle many immediate expenses, specifically the costs associated with a funeral, before the estate is officially opened and...

If you’re in the midst of estate planning, you may be wondering: what’s the best way to leave my property when I die? How do I leave my house to my children? There’s no cut-and-dry answer, but there are some basic principles that will keep you on the right track. 

Real Estate is the number one asset that triggers probate.  Why? Because changing the title to an asset in order to avoid probate requires filing a new deed to transfer the property — not a simple process.  

Retirement assets like 401Ks, IRAs and annuities may or may not go through probate, depending on whether the owner of the asset designated a valid beneficiary prior to death.