What is Probate?
Probate is a judicial process where a will is in review and proven to the court. The will states that the heir/heirs is entitled to oversee the estate and the specific assets. An heir is a person who is chosen by the decedent. He will manage the assets post his/her death. The will defines instructions on how it is to administer.
Why should you Avoid Probate?
More of a bane, less of a boon. Probate can be an expensive and lengthy process for you and the successors (heirs) both. It can end up lasting for months or even years in the worst-case scenario. The process involves a lawyer and a probate attorney, which means additional costs like hiring fees. In such an instance, you would want to end up eluding probate and carry on with the passing or distributing of the assets to the heirs.
We comprehend you work hard to earn a single penny, and you wouldn’t want to let a big chunk of it flow to the government in the name of probate. You must have proper planning on how to avoid probate, and under what circumstances. There are multiple situations where you can let go of probate, and in some, it is a must. If you’re a married couple and wish to set up a trust for your children, you will have to pass through probate. A couple who has joint assets may avoid probate. Under further conditions, the surviving spouse receives everything without going through any legal process. If you wish to stay away from the hassles of being stuck in probate, you can know how to avoid the probate process below.
How can You Avoid Probate?
1. Crafting a Living Trust (Revocable Trust)
Creating a living trust is the simplest way to avoid probate. A living trust is similar to a will. It is created when an individual is alive. You will have to add a name (any relative, friend, or guardian) in the trust to take over as the trustee after your death, also known as the successor trustee. Here, you will have to transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee of the assets. After registering the estate, its control is towards the trust. After your death, the successor trustee can transfer the assets to the trust heirs. It happens without any probate process.
2. Joint Ownership Transfers with Rights of Survivorship
If you’re a couple, joint ownership transfer with the rights of survivorship works well to avoid probate. Remaining all assets or estate are passed on to the surviving spouse. This particular law is recognized in two facets;
- Joint Tenancy
- Tenancy By The Entirety
3. Joint Tenancy
Couples who own equal shares of valuable possessions like homes, commercial sectors, businesses, and vehicles can transfer them to the surviving spouse. They do not have you go through the probate process.
4. Tenancy By The Entirety
Tenancy by the entirety is exclusive and applied to real estate and strictly stands for married couples. The particular category is beneficial to guard your estate against creditors in case of catastrophes.
5. Registering Transfer-on-Death for Security (TOD)
Registering transfer-on-death registration is an important aspect of saving yourself from the probate process. You can register your stocks, bonds, and security assets in the transfer-on-death (TOD) form. The specified beneficiary receives the brokerage accounts and assets automatically at the time of a decedent’s death without any probate proceedings.
6. Payable-on-Death Designations for Bank Accounts (POD)
The payable-on-death account entails a beneficiary’s name. The person opening a bank or brokerage account makes the decision. The law states that the decedent preserves all rights to an account until his or her death. A beneficiary can claim the account straight from the bank without going through the probate evaluation by the court.
7. Life Insurance at Your Bay
If you have signed up for life insurance with an optimum level of coverage, it is probably the best decision of your life. If you have life insurance, post your death, the beneficiary will receive the profits from the company free from the hassles of probate. The inheritance is not subject to regular income taxes, which is a bonus.
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