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Richard C. James
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How can you avoid probate?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Estate Planning

There are many reasons why you may want to avoid probate. First, it can be a  lengthy and expensive process, especially when unexpected issues like contests come up. You may also prefer a more private way of handling your family affairs.

Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid this court-controlled process of administering your estate when you die. Here are some of the ways you can go about it.

Have joint ownership of assets with the right of survivorship

Joint owners with the right of survivorship mean that if you die, the remaining owner takes full ownership. Thus, the asset in question will not have to go through probate since you no longer own it.

Have designated beneficiaries on your accounts

You can designate beneficiaries for your insurance and retirement accounts or set up payable-on-death accounts where funds directly go to the beneficiaries after your death. Such setups do not require probate and take effect immediately after you die.

Give away property while you’re alive

You can also give away or gift your assets during your lifetime to the person you intend to have them. However, you may have to pay gift tax depending on the value of the gift, which can be costly.

Create a trust to control the assets

A trust is by far the most effective way of avoiding probate. Trusts have asset protection capabilities and legal frameworks that give you more control over your assets. When you create a trust and move assets into it, they will not have to go through probate. The people you name as beneficiaries will benefit from the trust upon your death.

Make the most out of your estate plans

You probably know what you want but can’t figure out the best way of achieving it. It is understandable, given that estate planning can sometimes get complicated. As such, it is best to have expert guidance to help you make decisions that are in your best interests.