26 Feb How to Avoid Probate
How to Avoid Probate
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Very few circumstances justify taking action (or not taking action), intentionally, that results in going through Probate administration (a/k/a “estate administration”). It thrusts loved ones and potentially friends into the personal affairs of the person who passed away (decedent). That makes it uncomfortable and unpleasant. Unfortunately, estates take a long time to process through the court system, so even summary (quick) estates can take months. Regular estates can last well over a year depending on complexity. Since you have to hire an attorney, it’s expensive. Part of the process includes notifying creditors and beneficiaries, and giving both an opportunity to file claims. That makes it unpredictable. For one reason or another, every single one of my clients has nothing but horrible things to say about the probate process. Remember, a last will and testament does NOT avoid probate. As it relates to property, a Last Will and Testament merely serves as your written expression of your preference for how you’d like your property that is owned solely in your name to be devised upon your death. Avoiding probate is accomplished in a few ways: 1) own property that passes outside of probate; or 2) retitle property so its owned by another person or entity. Below are a few ways to avoid probate.
- Life insurance if structured properly passes outside of probate
- Transfer or retitle assets so they are jointly held (owned by more than one person as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety)
- Transfer or retitle assets so they are owned by a business entity, such as a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership
- Transfer or retitle assets so they are owned by a trust, such as a revocable or irrevocable trust
Please note that the above strategies are simplified and must be done correctly to be effective.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose
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Originally posted 2013-08-13 10:00:26.