Tips on How to Avoid Probate

For those who have an estate plan or that understand how long and expensive probate can be, they may want to avoid it. Having a will, generally means that you have to go through the process. However, if you’ve decided that you would rather avoid probate altogether, there are ways that you can accomplish this.

Add a Joint Tenant

Joint ownership avoids probate because it transfers your share of the assets automatically to the other owner. For instance, you could add a joint owner to your bank account. When you die, the other owner will receive your share of the bank account.  In many states, if you have a spouse, then the person that you are married to has property rights that are a form of tenancy by the entirety.

When it comes to joint tenancy, you do have to consider a few different disadvantages. On one hand, if someone sues you or the other joint tenant, then the creditors could come after the assets in the joint account. Another situation that becomes complicated is when you marry for a second time and do not want him or her to handle the entirety of your assets or property. It is crucial to speak with a lawyer to find out if joint tenancy is right for you.

Create a Trust

One of the most common estate planning tools that people use to avoid probate is creating a trust. The trust is a written agreement that assigns assets to different beneficiaries. When you create a trust, the property can usually avoid having to go through probate. Instead, it transfers directly to the beneficiaries of your choice.

Designate Beneficiaries

There are a few different systems that allow you to designate beneficiaries so that you can avoid probate and do not have to include them in your will. For instance, if you have life insurance or a retirement account, you can normally designate a beneficiary. When you do this, the person you receive will benefit from these accounts without having to go through probate.

If you want to avoid probate, there are a number of different ways that you can do it. The most common, of course, is through the establishment of a trust. When you only have a will, there is a high chance that your family and loved ones will have to go through the probate process. If you want to avoid probate, then it is important for you to talk with a lawyer about your options.