Probate is the legal process of distributing and transferring an estate or assets of a deceased person to their heirs and/or beneficiaries. It can occur with or without the presence of the deceased person’s will. While common, probate can be complex and burdensome, and here’s why:
- No Privacy
Since probate is handled by the court, all documents related to this go on public record. This can increase the risk of scams and identity fraud.
- Long Process
Some probates can be completed within several months but others may take at least years.
- Comes at High Costs
Lawyer and court fees can take up a percentage of the estate’s value. Moreover, there may be other expenses to consider as well.
Now that we established the reasons why most people would rather avoid probate, let’s talk about what you can do.
- Establish a trust.
A living trust, when handled effectively, can bypass most probate proceedings. This happens because assets and properties are already distributed and held “in trust” and can be quickly transferred right after death.
- Name beneficiaries on your account.
This is so the transfer of assets is easy in case of death. But make sure you have converted your accounts to death on payable ones. Don’t forget to include this important detail on your final wishes planner, too!
- Designate joint property.
When a property is part of joint ownership, it can be directly transferred to the surviving member when the other dies, foregoing any probate process.
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