It’s natural to want to avoid the stress and inconvenience of probate. However, individuals aren’t always clear on how to expedite the transfer of assets to their beneficiaries. In particular, people may assume that they can avoid probate entirely by writing a will to transfer property. Wondering how to save your loved ones time and money after you’re gone? Keep reading to discover the best way of getting your assets where they need to go.
How Probate Works
So, what is probate anyway? A type of legal proceeding, probate is the process by which a special court oversees the distribution of a person’s assets after their death. Following a review of the deceased’s will and other documents, the court will ensure any necessary debts have been paid before distributing the remaining property and assets to beneficiaries.
Depending on the complexity of an individual’s estate, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. Additionally, many families resent the court intruding on their private affairs and examining their finances. If you want to save your loved ones the stress of a long, drawn-out probate proceeding, you should look into alternative ways of transferring property to beneficiaries.
Can You Avoid Probate by Creating a Will?
Wondering if creating a will is enough to circumvent the probate process? The simple fact is that people who are deceased can not own property. With that in mind, probate is typically necessary before property and assets may pass from a deceased individual to their beneficiary, even with a will in place. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on the necessary step of creating a will.
While a will won’t enable your loved ones to avoid probate all together, it can minimize costs and get property into their hands faster. After all, when you create a will, you tell the executor when and how to distribute assets. On the other hand, if you die intestate (without a valid will) it will be up to the courts to determine who inherits which property.
Tips on Keeping Property Out of Probate
A will might not be enough to keep all your assets out of probate. However, there are some legal steps you can take to save your family money and keep them out of court. Here are some of the best ways of avoiding the probate process:
Lifetime Transfer – One of the most effective ways of avoiding probate is by transferring property out of your estate while you’re still alive. You can either give the property to someone outright or add the person on as a new owner with a form of co-ownership. Note that with the first method, the former owner loses all legal rights to the asset after it’s been transferred.
Traditional Life Estate Deed – A way of holding on to property during your lifespan, a traditional life estate deed lets you set up assets to be transferred upon death. While this option allows beneficiaries to avoid probate, it’s worth noting that owners can no longer sell or mortgage property once it’s been deeded. So, it might not be a good choice for some individuals.
Living Trust – One of the most popular probate alternatives, a living trust allows owners to pass on assets without the help of the courts. As the owner of the trust, you can set aside assets and property to be distributed upon your death. Additionally, you will appoint a trustee who is responsible for managing the truth and ensuring beneficiaries get what’s owed to them. Most individuals rely on an attorney to help them set up and fund the truth properly. Your attorney will also need to file deeds after you pass to enable the transfer of property to beneficiaries.
Get Help With Probate From JacksonWhite
Trust experts at JacksonWhite Law to handle your probate case quickly and efficiently. Get in touch with us today so we can get to work as soon as possible.
Call Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges at (480)467-4365 to discuss your case today.
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