Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Organize Your Affairs Before Its Too Late

Two years ago, a client walked into the Law Office of Matthew C. Mullhofer, holding a probate court document concerning his deceased mother's estate. The client was confused. A week before his mother passed, she executed a deed to her house in the son's name and asked him to sell the house after her death and split the proceeds with his seven brothers and sisters.

The son agreed to do this for her, and thought this would take care of her estate plan. Unfortunately, she did not have a last will or trust.

The Probate court document was filed by a brother of the client. The brother felt that he should have been the one that would be in charge of selling the home and distributing the cash proceeds to the brothers and sisters.

Needless to say, the case has been tied up in the Probate court for the last two and a half years. During that time the value of the home dropped by more than $250,000. All of the family members were affected by the case. Half chose one brother's side and the other half chose the other brother's side. They no longer speak to one another.

We at the Law office of Matthew C. Mullhofer, work with clients to avoid this type of dispute before it can occur. A simple revocable trust for the mother would have listed instructions in writing as to how and when the house would be sold. It would have helped the family avoid this conflict and preserved the estate asset from being tied up in a long court battle. The trust would have allowed the house to be sold quickly after the mother's death and a much higher gain from the sale would have been available to the heirs.

Above all, the family would have avoided having to choose sides and would have retained their close relationship.

If you have a parent or a loved one that needs help planning their estate and getting their affairs in order, have them call Matthew C. Mullhofer at (714) 827-9955. You can also visit his website at

Matthew C. Mullhofer

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