Avoiding probate should be a key concern that you discuss with your attorney when you are putting together your estate plan. You should be aware that there are two types of assets, those that will go through probate and those that will not. Certain kinds of assets, like life insurance policies and IRAs have their own contracts with beneficiaries assigned. As a result, there is no need for these items to go through probate.
In other cases, simple assets, like your home or vehicle, could end up in probate if you haven’t taken steps to avoid it. Some possible ways to avoid probate include:
- Setting up joint tenancies with the right of survivorship
- Transfer on death securities
- Payment on death bank accounts
- Revocable living trusts
Of course, there may be times when these options won’t work for you, so you’ll need to discuss other options with your attorney.
Why is it important to avoid probate?
Probate is a long, expensive way to settle your estate. While you won’t have to worry about it, not setting up your estate correctly could mean that your loved ones will have to go through a long, tedious process with your estate. The estate may be held to the state’s laws for distribution, too, which could be counterintuitive to what you wanted.
Probate can be costly, which is one of the most common reasons people go to great lengths to avoid it. Court fees, probate fees, attorney fees and other expenses will add up, which is why it’s better to prevent probate when possible.
If you’re setting up your estate plan, remember that probate can (and probably should) be avoided. Your attorney can help you take steps to protect your estate and to make sure it’s distributed in the way you wanted.