How to Avoid Probate?

How to Avoid Probate?

Defining Probate

Probate is a legal process which takes place after someone dies. The legal process includes validating the Decedent’s Will.  If there is no Will, then the court will appoint a representative for the estate. The representative will then be responsible for paying any outstanding liens, and dividing up the remaining property between the heirs to the estate.

Does Everyone Go Through Probate?

Not every Decedent’s estate needs to go through the probate process. There are different ways that you can avoid the probating of your estate. One way that people can avoid probate is by having a trust.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust helps assets pass outside of probate while allowing you to keep control of your assets during your lifetime. When you set up a trust you can arrange it so you are the trustee which will allow you to keep control over the trust. You can also arrange it so that there is a successor to the trustee that can manage the trust in the event of your incapacity or death.

Joint Ownership of Property

Another way to avoid probate is by jointly owning property. Ways that you can avoid probate when you own property is by:

  • Joint tenancy with right of survivorship allows for the property to pass to the surviving owner when one owner dies
  • Tenancy by the entirety is similar to joint tenancy, but can only be used by married couples
  • Community property with right of survivorship is another way to co-own property. If the property is owned this way then when one spouse dies, the other automatically owns the asset.

These ways of owning property can keep that property out of probate.

Seek Advice

When you are planning your estate, it is important that you know all of your options.