Can Probate be Avoided?

Can Probate be Avoided?

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.


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