The last thing you want is for your loved ones to have to deal with lengthy, and often costly, probate court proceedings after you pass away. If you’ve bequeathed them gifts in your will, you want them to have what you’ve given them without any stress or difficult legal proceedings.
Are there any steps that you can take in order to avoid your estate going through the probate process?
You can draw up a living trust
A living trust is a tool that’s used frequently by people who are seeking to avoid the need for probate.
Any belongings that you want to be transferred to beneficiaries are put into a living trust. This can cover almost anything from bank accounts to property and vehicles. You name a person who you want to be a trustee and all the named items are then held in trust throughout the duration of your lifetime. After you pass away, the possessions named in the trust are all passed to the trustee who will then transfer ownership to the trust beneficiaries.
As a result, a living trust can mean avoiding the probate process altogether.
If you share a property with someone else, and the principle of “right of survivorship” applies, the property will transfer directly to that person without the need for probate to be completed. Joint ownership is available as either a joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, with the latter only applying to married couples.
Drawing up a living trust can help your loved ones to avoid the complications and difficulties that come with navigating the probate court. If you’re planning your estate, it’s a good idea to consider how you can make sure your wishes are all accounted for.