Simple Ways to Avoid Probate

by M-Gillies

There are seven ways to easily avoid any worries of probate.

1. Setting up payable-on-death accounts: POD’s or payable-on-death is the process of making arrangements between a bank or credit provider and a client that designates beneficiaries to receive all the clients assets, which are transferred immediately upon the death of the client, bypassing probate court entirely.

2. Naming beneficiaries, including children, institutions and multiple beneficiaries: Naming beneficiaries is an easy way of avoiding probate court, however, it is important to name a second or contingent beneficiary in the event that your first choice dies before you or at the same time.

3. Transfer-on-Death Registration: With the exception of certain states, there is a law that allows someone to inherit ones stocks, bonds or brokerage accounts without probate, and it works very much like payable-on-death accounts. This process requires you to register your ownership, either with a stockbroker or company in what is called a beneficiary form. This means that while you are alive, the beneficiary has no rights to your stocks, also allowing you to sell, give away, name a different beneficiary or close the account.

4. Special procedures for small estates: There are two basic kinds of probate shortcuts for small estates which include, claiming property with affidavits (no court required) – this means if the total value of the estate is less than a certain amount, people who inherit the estate can bypass the probate process.

The second option is simplified court procedures, which is an option of limiting the involvement of the probate court.

5. Holding property in joint ownership with the Right of Survivorship: Whether married or not, if you’re part of a couple, it’s often smart to hold titles to vehicles as “joint tenants with the right of survivorship” that way, when one owner dies, the other will own the vehicle, without probate.

6. Using a living trust to avoid probate: A living trust is a standard probate-avoidance practice, which isn’t complicated and and follows basic rules by naming who is in charge of what and how property is to be transferred after death. Simply put, a living trust is answering all the questions probate court will ask in less amount of time.

7. Making gifts of property and money: This process requires you to gift items while you’re still alive and the best means of keeping track of this is by using a check-book, however, any gift more than $13,000 per year require a federal gift tax return and may be subject to tax.

Read more:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/avoid-probate-book/chapter6-6.html

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