Probate is the name for the court proceedings through which your assets are distributed according to your wishes by your executor. This is can be both a lengthy and costly process for your heirs.
Keep reading to learn three ways to avoid probate and make things a bit easier on your children and loved ones.
This is the most straightforward way to avoid probate. A living trust is an alternative to have a last will. A will simply distributes your assets upon death which requires probate, whereas a living trust places your assets "in trust" which are managed by a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. This allows you to avoid probate because your assets have already distributed to the trust.
While having a living trust makes more sense for some people, for others a Will is a better fit. If this is the case for you, you can take some steps to ensure that not all of your assets have to pass through probate.
Look through your personal assets and see which ones allow you to name a beneficiary. This may include your bank account, retirement account, investment account, retirement plan, and life insurance plan. If you name a beneficiary in these accounts they will be “payable upon death” and will not have to go through probate and save both time and costs.
Another great tip for keeping your real estate out of probate is to hold any property you own jointly. Owning joint property with your spouse or significant others allows the property to pass automatically to them without having to go through probate. It doesn’t matter whether you are married or not. As long as the property is designated a jointly held property it will go to the surviving member of the couple.
Another option is looking into Tenancy by the Entirety or for married couples in Community Property. These ownership options indicate you will want to investigate designating co-owned property as Community Property with a Right of Survivorship.
**Disclaimer: The content used in the article is not to be used as legal advice and is for illustration and general informational purposes only. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.