No one wants to think about death, but it's a part of life that we all have to face. When someone dies, their loved ones are often left with a lot of questions and decisions to make. One of the most daunting tasks is probate - the legal process of settling a deceased person's estate. This process can be long and complicated, but there are ways to avoid it. In this blog, our estate planning and probate attorney shares how to set up your estate plan in an efficient way so that you can avoid probate altogether.
Beginning Your Estate Planning Early With A Will
If you have a will, congratulations! You're already ahead of the game. However, simply having a will does not help your estate automatically avoid the probate process. In order to do that, you'll need to take some additional steps.
Your will should be as detailed and thorough as possible. This means including all of your assets and specifying how you want them to be distributed. You should also name an executor - someone who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and overseeing the probate process.
To learn more about what you should include in your will, read our blog.
Another way to avoid probate is to utilize trusts. A trust is a legal arrangement in which you (the grantor) transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee. The trustee then manages the assets for the benefit of the named beneficiary (or beneficiaries). There are different types of trusts, but revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts are two of the most common. As you would imagine from their names, revocable living trusts can be adjusted or revoked as the grantor desires, while irrevocable trusts cannot be changed once they are created.
Both types of trusts can be used to avoid probate, but irrevocable trusts are more commonly used for this purpose. This is because assets held in an irrevocable trust are not considered to be part of your estate. As a result, they will not be subject to probate if the process is completed correctly.
Setting Up "Transfer on Death" Deeds
Another tool estate plans can use is to set up "transfer on death" (TOD) deeds. TOD deeds are legal documents that allow you to transfer ownership of your property to a named beneficiary upon your death. In most states, TOD deeds can be used for real estate, vehicles, and other types of property.
TOD deeds are a relatively new tool, so it's important to discuss them with your estate planning attorney before utilizing them. Your estate planning attorney can help you understand how to best utilize these documents for your overall plan.
Consulting With An Experienced Estate Planning and Probate Attorney
The best way to avoid probate is to consult with an experienced probate attorney. The attorney can help you understand the probate process and create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs. They can also help you understand the probate process and create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs.
Helping You Through The Most Important Times in Your Life
Probate can be a complicated and stressful process, but it doesn't have to be. With the right planning and the guidance of an experienced estate planning and probate attorney, you can prepare a thorough estate plan to help your loved ones avoid a drawn-out probate process after passing.
If you have any questions about probate or estate planning, please schedule a consultation with our experienced probate attorney. Get started today by calling us at (262) 205-0705. We are waiting for your call!