I received a phone call a few weeks ago from a prospective client, Andrea. She had heard about Gateville Law Firm from one of her friend’s, Lauren who is an Estate Planning client of our firm.
Andrea told me that her sixty-year-old mother had passed away on Memorial Day this year. Andrea shared that she and her mother were very close and that her mother, was a single mom, who raised her younger brother and her by working two jobs.
Andrea said she had been devasted by the loss of her mother and finally had the strength to close her mother’s estate but didn’t know where to begin. Her mother did not have a Will or Trust and Andrea thought she would have to go to Court to have her mother’s estate distributed to her and her brother.
Andrea told me another attorney, told her a Small Estate Affidavit would not work and she would need to go to probate court, because he valued her mother’s estate at $142,000.00
DETERMINING WHEN TO USE A SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVIT
I explained to her the first thing we needed to do was understand what her mother’s assets and debts were to determine whether Probate Court or a Small Estate Affidavit would be the best route.
I came to understand Andrea’s mother had rented an apartment her entire life. She had $110,000 in a retirement account, naming Andrea and her brother beneficiaries. She also had $20,000 in a bank savings account and another $2,000 in a checking account. She owned a 2012 Ford Explorer.
Andrea and her brother had paid all of her mother’s funeral expenses and had paid off the balance of her mother’s only credit card debt.
I explained to Andrea, the good news was that she would not have to open up Probate in Court and that I could draft a Small Estate Affidavit for her so that she could close the checking and savings accounts and change the title for the Ford Explorer from her mother to her brother.
EXPERIENCED ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY
Because Andrea and her brother were already named beneficiaries in her mother’s $110,000 retirement account, this account did not need to be included when considering probate as it was not a probate asset.
I drafted Andrea’s Small Estate Affidavit, she stopped in our office, so she could sign the document in front of my team as they notarized it. Coupled with an official copy of her mother’s death certificate, Andrea was able to close her mother’s bank accounts and her brother was able to transfer the vehicle title to his name.
Andrea was fortunate that the second law firm she contacted was Robertson Legal Group LLC. Our vast experience in Estate Planning saved her time and money by avoiding unnecessary legal fees, court costs and statutory court waiting periods.
Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm are experienced estate planning attorneys. Sean Robertson is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gateville Law Firm has offices in Yorkville, Shorewood, and Naperville. Setting up a free initial consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney can provide a legacy for your family for generations. Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm may be reached at 630-780-1034 or via online contact form.