Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on June 30, 2022
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You know that your loved ones will have a difficult time adjusting to life after you’re gone. While losing a loved one is never easy, you can help make this time easier for them with careful estate planning. The last thing you want them to have to worry about after your passing is how your assets will be distributed and who gets what. However, you might also want to help them avoid the probate process.
It is possible to avoid having your estate go through the probate process. The estate planning attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can help you plan for the future in a way that best fits the needs of you and your loved ones.
Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate?
First, you might not know why someone would want to avoid probate in the first place. Different people may want to avoid having their estate go through probate for different reasons. One of the main reasons that many want to avoid it is because it can be an extremely lengthy process. This means that your heirs will have to wait to receive their inheritance, while you might want them to receive it as soon as possible. Not only can it be time-consuming, but it can also be costly. Information from your estate going through the probate process is also made public, and depending on your unique circumstances, you might want to keep this private.
Ways to Avoid Probate
There are more ways to avoid probate than you might realize, but not all of them are right for everyone. Here are a few different methods for avoiding probate.
Create a Living Trust
One of the best benefits of creating a living trust is that it can help you avoid having your estate go through probate. A living trust allows your assets to pass to your loved ones quickly after you pass and skip the probate process. Rather than you being the owner of the assets in the trust, the assets you place in it belong to the trust. Because of this, the assets in the trust aren’t considered to be part of your estate and don’t require probate.
Name a Designated Beneficiary
In some cases, you may have accounts and insurance policies that allow you to state a designated beneficiary. This is common for life insurance policies and retirement accounts. This is a simple and easy way to allow your assets to pass to loved ones more easily.
There’s a good chance you might currently own property jointly with your spouse or another individual. You can have joint ownership with someone through joint ownership with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety. While joint ownership with right of survivorship can be utilized by anyone, tenancy by the entirety can only be used by married couples. When one of the owners passes away, the title passes to the survivor.
Give Away Property
Some might choose to get rid of certain assets before they pass so that they aren’t the owner at the time of their death. Instead, these assets are in a loved one’s possession when you’re still alive. As you aren’t the owner, they aren’t part of your estate anymore and don’t require probate to be distributed. However, depending on the cost of the gift, it may be subject to a gift tax, so you need to ensure you’re taking the proper precautions and seek advice before gifting assets to loved ones.
Find Out How You Can Help Your Loved Ones Avoid Probate
You want to ensure that your estate plans cover everything you need. Whether or not you want to avoid probate as much as possible, you need an experienced estate planning attorney. With Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, you can feel confident that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones will be provided for.
Contact us today to get started planning your estate.
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