Probate is a complex and time-consuming process that can be intimidating for estate executors. Fortunately, there are ways of avoiding probate and its associated costs to ensure the smooth transition of an estate’s assets from one generation to the next.
By planning now, you can help avoid probate proceedings with your own estate or that of a deceased loved one.
What is the purpose of probate?
Probate is a legal process that typically occurs when someone dies. It involves proving the validity of the deceased person’s will, if one exists, and distributing their assets according to how it directs.
Probate helps ensure that proper financial arrangements are in place for the deceased’s dependents and beneficiaries. Additionally, it ensures creditors are paid with funds from the estate and prevents fraud from occurring. Without probate, there would be no formal recognition of a will or orderly distribution of assets, potentially leaving survivors without a rightful inheritance.
However, probate may be simplified or unnecessary in limited circumstances, such as:
- All assets are held in a trust
- All assets pass directly to the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner
- If the estate is fairly small
Similarly, suppose two people jointly own the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, and one of the property owners dies. No probate may be necessary for the title to transfer to the remaining owner in that case.
Probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially when it comes to passing down assets from one generation to the next. Knowing how to avoid probate is an essential part of estate planning. By structuring your assets so an executor does not need to intervene, you can save considerable time and money and reduce the burden placed on your loved ones at an already difficult time.
Additionally, by avoiding probate, those assets remain more private since the court proceedings are not publicly available documents. This means your heirs will receive their inheritance more quickly and securely with fewer complications.