How to Avoid Probate
It’s difficult enough to save an inheritance for our children and loved ones so why force them into court before they can receive it? Probate fees for the court, the lawyer and even the genealogy company can threaten to take large portions of your estate. In addition, Probate forces a lengthy waiting period, a loss of privacy and creates significant stress before they can even access their inheritance.
There are several methods to avoid the probate quagmire so that you can save money, time and stress! Let’s look at the most common ways you can implement immediately.
You may not realize this, but most of our valued assets can be assigned beneficiaries. Instead of keeping your accounts in your name alone, which forces them through your Will and Probate, you can name beneficiaries on your bank accounts, life insurance, retirement plans, investments, and other assets to be automatically distributed.
You can name beneficiaries by requesting a form from your bank or financial institution that will then allow the asset to be dispersed upon your death. Keep in mind that naming a beneficiary may not always be appropriate based on the asset and the person you’re naming as the beneficiary so it's best to do this in conjunction with an experienced financial advisor or estate planning attorney.
In addition, if you have real estate or other financial accounts that you wish to keep out of probate, you can name a joint owner. This could be a significant other, spouse, child or other loved one. This process is best done when initially purchasing real estate but can also be accomplished even if you already own it. By naming a joint owner with rights of survivorship, you allow the other owner to receive the property automatically upon your passing. Again, however, there is a caution in that this joint owner will have ownership rights if its land and access rights if its a financial account so selecting the right person is crucial.
Create a Trust
A Trust entity is created by a written agreement that is a “Will-substitute” and can own and manage your property and assets. It’s managed by a trustee and contains terms about lifetime use of the property and the ultimate distribution after passing away so that a probate proceeding won’t be required. There are various benefits and reasons to utilize a trust and it should only be implemented with an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney and as a part of a comprehensive estate plan.
Tully Law Group, PC Elder Care & Estate Planning Attorneys
As elder care and estate planning attorneys, you’d be amazed at how often our client conversations revolve around a client’s health, finances, and relationships. In fact, that’s what estate planning is all about. Helping a client establish an estate plan has everything to do with a client’s family, the assets to be inherited, and ultimately their aging, health, and even mortality. So let’s add one more small resolution to help ourselves and our loved ones – establish or review your estate plan this year. It’s a simple phone call to us, and we’ll help take care of the rest. This will help you organize your life and finances and give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve provided for your loved ones and made their lives simpler.