Tips For Avoiding Probate

You want to make it as easy as possible to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries when you die. One way to do that is by avoiding the probate process. Probate is when your family has to go to court to determine who gets your assets. It is a public process that anyone can have access to.

It is possible to avoid probate with the right planning. In order to avoid probate, you're going to want to work with a probate lawyer or with an estate planning lawyer. 

What is probate? 

Probate is a legal process where a specialized court oversees the distribution of your property after you die. The court will assign someone to ensure that all of your debts are paid and then the remaining properties are passed on to the appropriate parties. In general, the court will give the property to the next of kin. If there is not a clear next of kin, they will work to figure out who should get your assets.

This process is costly. It takes away from the money you can leave your beneficiaries. Additionally, the process takes a lot of time, and all of your personal finances will become a matter of public record after you die. That is why most people take steps to avoid probate. 

Avoiding Probate

There are numerous ways to avoid probate. Avoiding probate is primarily about actively planning for the future.

Give Away Property

One of the most simple ways to avoid probate when you die is by giving away the property you have when you are still alive. The drawback to giving away property before you die is that you are giving up your assets when you may still need them, and you will not have legal access to those assets anymore. 

Joint Ownership

Instead of giving away assets, setting up joint ownership is usually a smarter option. That way, through survivorship rights, your property will naturally pass on to the individual who you want to have it. You need to ensure that you set up the right type of joint ownership. 

You can set up joint ownership for more than just real estate. You can set up joint ownership for other property as well, such as motor vehicles, securities, and even various financial accounts. 

Pay on Death Financial Accounts

With some accounts, such as IRA and bank accounts, you can set up someone as the beneficiary using a Pay-On-Death policy. With a POD, the other person will not have any ownership of your accounts when you are alive. However, if you were to die, they would get the money that is left in the account. 

If you want to help your family avoid probate when you die, you are going to want to work with an attorney ahead of time to ensure that your estate is set up to avoid the probate process. If a loved one dies without setting things up, you are going to want to hire a probate attorney to help you through this complicated legal process.