Many people know that they want to avoid probate, but don’t understand the benefits of doing so. “Probate” is a process in which a court validates a will. In addition, the entire process of administering an estate is called a probate.
Probate can be an expensive and long process, so if you are like most people, you will want to avoid it.
Jointly Owned Property
Jointly owned property avoids probate. An example of this is when a married couple owns a home together. With jointly owned property, there is no need for probate because the property is automatically transferred to the other owner once someone dies.
It is important to speak with an estate planning attorney to decide if joint ownership is a good idea for your personal situation.
The Revocable Living Trust
Many people use the revocable living trust to avoid probate. This makes the trust become the main focus of an estate plan instead of the will.
In order to avoid probate, it is imperative that your revocable living trust be fully funded.
This means that your assets will be in the name of your trust.
A great way to avoid probate is by making sure property is not yours when you die.
However, make sure that you only gift things that you do not need.
It can be a great experience to see your loved ones enjoy your gifts during your lifetime.
If you give away more than $13,000 per year per individual, you will be required to file a gift tax return. Married couples are able to gift up to $26,000 per year.
Another way to avoid probate is by naming an individual as a beneficiary of your contract assets. This includes retirement accounts and life insurance, payment on death (POD) accounts, and transfer on death (TOD) accounts.
If you name your estate, probate is required.
It is important to speak with an estate planning attorney to decide if POD or TOD accounts are a good idea for your personal situation.
If you have questions about the probate process and how to avoid probate, consult a qualified probate attorney. He will professionally guide your throughout the entire process.