Probate is the process of distributing assets after a person’s death. It is a legal process that can be lengthy at times and comes with legal fees. If someone does not have a will, then the assets go to probate court to determine who legally should inherit them. Unfortunately, sometimes family members argue over specific assets, leading to longer court proceedings.
If the deceased has a will in place, probate is still required to follow the rules of the will and distribute the assets. Having a will can make the probate process more straightforward, but a will does not guarantee that you can bypass probate.
Options for Avoiding Probate
In addition to having a will, there are other aspects of estate planning that can help bypass probate. Meeting with an estate planning lawyer can help you find the best options for your situation. Take a look at other ways to protect your assets and save your family time and money after your passing:
- Revocable Trust: Assets can be placed in a trust and used by the owner of the trust (grantor) while they are alive. Once the grantor passes away, the assets remain in the trust and follow the rules set by the grantor for distribution to beneficiaries. This may include doling out the money once the beneficiaries reach a certain age.
- Retirement Account: The money in a retirement account goes directly to the beneficiary without entering probate. Set up a retirement account and name your beneficiary to secure your money in the bank.
- Joint Ownership on Real Estate: When you have two property owners, and one passes away, the property automatically goes to the co-owner. This joint owner becomes the sole owner of the real estate.
- Life Insurance: The beneficiary on your life insurance will receive the benefits at the time of death. The money will not have to pass through probate.
You have a variety of options in estate planning that will allow you to skip the probate process. While a will is important, it is just the first step. You have even more ways that you can prepare for the unexpected through estate planning.
We are here to help you find ways that you can protect your assets and minimize estate taxes after your death. Shoup Legal has the expertise you need. Contact us at (951) 455-4114 or email us at [email protected] to learn more.