Probate can be an extremely costly, lengthy, and public process. Many people take the time to carefully plan their estate in order to avoid probate.
If you’re looking to avoid probate, you will need to utilize the right techniques. Take a look at some more great ways to avoid probate. If you have any questions or if you’re ready to discuss your probate avoidance needs, meet with an experienced, qualified estate planning attorney.
- Gift during your lifetime. If you’re able and willing to gift throughout your lifetime, you can begin to transfer ownership of your assets. This can be a useful way to avoid the probate process. It’s important to only gift if you no longer need the assets. You should also consider the gift tax and capital gains tax consequences of such gifts. Seek competent tax advice before proceeding.
- Name your beneficiary for your life insurance policy. This is one of the assets in which you will be required to name a beneficiary. Designating a beneficiary will allow you to make sure that the right person receives your assets and will also avoid probate. Your life insurance policy proceeds can’t be controlled by your will or other estate planning device. Due care should be used in making the designation as it could cause problems with young, troubled or disabled persons named as beneficiaries. If you have a living trust, it could be named as a beneciary. However, once again, there are numerous pros and cons to consider and competent, experienced legal advice, not just suggestions from an insurance agent, should be obtained.
- Designate your beneficiary for your retirement accounts. This is another asset that allows you to designate a beneficiary with the use of a beneficiary designation form. This asset isn’t subject to the probate process. Your retirement account funds can’t be controlled by your will or other estate planning device. As with life insurance, annuities and other assets which allow for beneficiary designations, one must carefully consider the correct designations as it could cause problems with young, troubled or disabled persons named as beneficiaries. If you have a living trust, it could be named as a beneficiary. However, there are pros and cons to consider and competent, experienced legal advice, not just suggestions from the benefits person, should be obtained.
Remember that by creating a will or choosing to ignore your estate planning needs altogether, your assets will be subject to the probate process. Take the time to carefully plan so that your goals are met and your loved ones are able to receive their inheritances quickly.
If you have any questions about the probate process or if you’d like to utilize some probate avoidance techniques, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney. You can avoid probate.