Probate is a legal process your estate undergoes after you pass on. During this procedure, a court will validate your will and authorize your executor to distribute your estate to the right heirs and pay any debt or taxes your estate might owe.
That being said, the last thing you probably want to do is to leave a big part of your estate to the government through probate fees or have your loved ones wait for a long time before getting anything.
Luckily, you can avoid the process, save money, accelerate the transfer of assets to the right heirs and maintain family privacy. Here are some ways to do it:
1. Establishing joint property ownership
This is an excellent way to keep your real estate out of probate. For example, if you and your partner want to buy a home or already have one, establishing joint ownership will allow the property to be passed automatically to the other owner without going through probate.
2. Establishing a living trust
If you want to avoid probate, you should consider establishing a living trust. This is because the trust converts when you pass away, allowing for asset distribution to your heirs. Instead, the trustee has control of the property and is responsible for distributing it under the specified terms of the trust agreement.
3. Transferring assets while alive
Transferring your assets while you are still alive is another way to avoid probate. Doing this will reduce the value of your real estate and simplify or exempt the probate process. So, instead of leaving assets to your loved ones after your pass away, give them now to reduce the number of assets that might go through probate and eliminate any possible state or federal taxes.
Avoiding probates doesn’t have to be hard
Probate can be slow and expensive, and it isn’t private at all. Avoiding probate may take a multi-factored approach, so experienced legal guidance can help you determine the most suitable strategy for your situation.