The secret to avoiding probate

by | Oct 23, 2017 | Probate Litigation |

There is one sure way to avoid seeing your life assets pass through probate – with all the expense and delay and tax liabilities that go with probate.

The secret? Don’t own anything.

There are a number of ways to un-own your home, real estate, bank accounts, investments, cars and collectibles so that they are probate-proof. Let us list some avenues for you:

  • Co-own all your real estate holdings in joint tenancy with a partner or family member.
  • Transfer ownership of your home to your son or daughter.
  • Put your holdings – just about anything — in a living trust.
  • Designate your banks accounts as POD (payable-on-death) bank account
  • Do the same with savings bonds.
  • Place all your stocks, bonds and mutual funds in a TOD (transfer-on-death) brokerage account.
  • Name specific beneficiaries on your life insurance policies.
  • Do the same with any retirement accounts you have.
  • Die with money still owed to you. Wages, salary, or commissions paid to you after you die do not pass through probate.

Co-ownership is the key

As you can see, what all these approaches have in common is that you cede or share ownership with another part. The moment you die, they become the sole owner, and you have avoided probate.

Co-ownership takes some adjustment to your thinking. It feels good to be sole owner of things you have acquired in life. But think how good you’ll feel knowing you have slipped free from the grasp of probate court.

Best of all, none of these strategies are difficult to out into action. They can all be done with a minimum of paperwork, which we can help you with.

Other necessary actions

Co-ownership must not be your entire estate plan. You must still have a clear and binding will on file, and documents stating your intentions if you can’t make decisions for yourself.

But avoiding probate is every responsible person’s dream. We can help you set up a plan that works.