Answers to Our Frequently Asked Questions

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The Law Offices of James L. Manfre have the answers. Please read some of our frequently asked questions below.  Still have questions? Click the "Contact Us" button below for further assistance


Do Wills Require Probate? 

Just because you take the time to create a Will, it doesn’t mean your estate will avoid probate. Probate is the process your estate goes through after you pass away if you haven’t done proper or comprehensive Estate Planning. It is a court-supervised proceeding, and depending on how solid your Estate Plan is, can be costly and take a long time. 

However, there are many ways you can simplify, or even eliminate all together, the probate process. One of the most effective ways to make it easier on those you leave behind is by creating a Trust as part of your Estate Planning. Anything you put inside your Trust can be passed down while avoiding probate. And, a big benefit to having a Trust is distribution of assets remains private, whereas distributing assets through a Will and probate are public. 

When do Trusts and Wills go into Effect? 

Wills do not go into effect until the moment you pass away. As opposed to a Trust which is essentially in effect the moment you sign and fund it.

 Another rather big point to consider is that since your Will only takes effect after you pass away, if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, you have no recourse or plan as directed by your Will. On its own, a Will is essentially useless while you’re alive. This means a Will, on its own, is not an effective end-of-life planning tool.

 Because a Trust instantly takes effect as soon as you sign it, it can simplify the process for those around you. But it’s very different from a Will in that your Trust not only plans for after you die – it’s a document intended to have an impact while you’re still living. A Trust can set provisions for things like what you want to have happen if you become mentally or physically unable to make your own decisions. It protects loved ones from having to make decisions about the unthinkable. Most importantly, a Trust can make sure your wishes are known, during your lifetime and after you pass, so the stress of wondering what you would want can be completely removed from the equation.  

What Documents are Prepared for a Trust at the Law Offices of James L. Manfre? 

  • The Trust
  • Pour-over Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Designation of Health Care Surrogate
  • Living Will
  • Voluntary Advance Directive for Receiving Oral Feedings and Fluids on the Event of Dementia
  • Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian
  • HIPAA Authorization and Waiver
  • Final Disposition Authorization and Instructions