Whenever someone passes away, their estate enters into probate. Whether there's a will or not, probate can be a lengthy process. And, if someone contests the will, that can make the process even longer and prevent your heirs from collecting what is rightfully theirs. However, probate doesn't always have to be an issue. Here are three ways you can help your loved ones avoid going through probate.
1. Establish a revocable living trust.
If you want to ensure that your loved ones won't have to go through probate, you could establish a revocable living trust. You can put the assets you want to pass on in the trust, which prevents them from being included in your estate when you pass away. The reason this works is because you no longer own the particular assets as a single person - instead the trust owns them. Most people will name themselves as the trustee and initial beneficiary, while also naming another beneficiary to take possession of the trust in the event of your death.
2. Name a joint owner of property you have.
If you are married and want property to pass quickly to your spouse, you need to have them listed on the deed as a joint owner. This will ensure that the property isn't included in your estate and won't get caught up in the probate process.
Of course, it doesn't have to be a spouse that you list as a joint owner. You can name anyone as a joint owner of property or assets. Just be certain that it is someone you trust and truly want to have the property, because your other heirs won't have the benefit of contesting it in probate court like they would a will.
3. Classify a bank account as a pay-on-death account.
Whenever you pass away, any financial accounts you have are included in your estate; therefore, they will go through probate. The way to keep this from happening, and give your loved ones immediate access to the funds, is to name a beneficiary on the account that will be payable on death.
This is different than joint ownership of the account because the beneficiary will have no access or control over the funds while you are still living. However, like joint ownership, the beneficiary doesn't have to be your spouse or even related to you. It can be any person, or organization, of your choosing and you can change it whenever you need to. For more information, contact a probate attorney like Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C..Share
8 May 2015
Hello. My name is Susan James. Thank you for stopping by my website. I’m not an attorney, but I've used attorneys for a variety of reasons. One thing I have found is that it definitely pays to use an attorney who specializes in the field in which you are seeking advice or assistance. My husband and I have employed the services of a real estate attorney quite a few times. When we got married, I moved into the home that my husband owned. I also sold my house. We used an attorney to help with the sale of my house and to add me to the deed of my husband’s home. While it isn't always a legal requirement to use an attorney for these things, it is in your best interest. I’m going to share about when and why it’s a good idea to use a real estate attorney.