Planning your estate earlier in life can save you a substantial amount of time and money. Most
of us don’t even want to think about death, however, planning out
what will happen to your possessions after your gone will benefit your
heirs and ensure that your assets are transferred according to your final
wishes. However, having a will is not enough to avoid probate. When you
pass away, all of the assets that you intend to pass on to your beneficiaries
are subject to probate.
The probate process can be both tedious and time consuming, sometimes taking
as long as 3 years to resolve. Not only does this mean that your family
can be forced to wait for an extended length of time, but probate can
also be an expensive affair. This can be problematic if your family is
relying on the income from your estate. The process also involves extensive
documentation and paperwork that will eventually become a part of public
records. If you value personal privacy, probate is something you will
want to avoid.
The following are 3 ways to avoid probate.
#1: Create a Revocable Living Trust
A living trust allows your trustee to transfer your property and possessions
to family members without having to undergo probate litigation. This will
help your family save on inheritance fees and also speeds up the transfer
process. An experienced attorney can help you set up a living trust that
specifies your inheritors.
#2: Change Your IRAs & Other Personal Accounts into Pay-On-Death Accounts
To do this, simply fill out a form indicating your chosen beneficiary.
Your money will then be transferred to the designated beneficiary upon
your death. In some states, you can do the same thing with vehicle registrations.
#3: Establish Joint Ownership
Property that is jointly owned does not need to go through probate. Instead,
jointly owned properties automatically pass on to the surviving owner.
This is one of the easier ways to avoid probate because it doesn’t
require a lot of paperwork. The following are types of joint ownership
that can be used to avoid probate:
- Joint Tenancy
- Tenancy by the Entirety
- Community Property
Do you have more questions about ways to avoid probate? Contact our Jacksonville team of estate planning attorneys
to find out how we can help you.