Possible ways to avoid probate

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Probate is a lengthy legal process necessary for estate administration. Most estates go through probate, and the process can incur high costs in some cases.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to avoid probate and ensure a smooth transfer of your assets to your loved ones.

Establish a living trust

A living trust allows you to transfer your assets to the trust while you are still alive. Since the trust technically owns the assets, they do not go through probate. Instead, heirs receive assets according to the instructions outlined in the trust document.

Joint ownership

Another way to avoid probate is by holding property jointly with someone else. This is joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. With joint ownership, you can ensure that property automatically passes to the surviving joint owner upon your death.

Designate beneficiaries

For assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, you can designate beneficiaries. Upon your death, these assets transfer directly to the named beneficiaries without going through probate. It is important to avoid common beneficiary mistakes to ensure heirs receive assets as you intend.

Gift your assets

You can reduce the size of your estate by gifting assets to loved ones. However, be mindful of tax implications before proceeding with significant gifts.

Maintain updated documents

Your estate plan must change along with your life, so you must review and update it as needed. Life events such as marriage and divorce may necessitate revisions.

Remember that it is not always possible to avoid probate. However, taking proactive steps can streamline the transfer of assets and provide peace of mind.

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