Probate is a necessary legal process to make sure your final wishes are carried out. But it can also reduce how much money is passed onto your beneficiaries.
, probate can eat up to 5% of your estate’s value through attorney and probate court costs. That’s why it’s important to hire an estate planning attorney.
Here’s what you need to know about probate and how to avoid it.
Probate is a process the courts go through to authenticate a last will and testament. It ensures that everything is carried out according to the final wishes of the decedent.
The personal representative you appoint for your estate will locate and secure assets. They’ll also pay any debts, bills, and taxes. What remains of your estate, they’ll distribute to your beneficiaries.
The main problem is that the may take several months or years. This means that your beneficiaries will have to wait before they’re able to inherit.
If there are any will contests, your personal representative or beneficiaries may also have to hire a probate litigation attorney.
Learning how to avoid probate can be as simple as setting up an appointment with an estate planning attorney. Below, are some of the things your attorney may advise you to do to avoid probate.
As the name suggests, a living trust goes into effect while you are still living. A trust planning attorney can help you set up a living trust and appoint a trustee. The assets you place “in trust” are then managed by the trustee.
Since you’re alive when all this happens, the courts will know that your final wishes are being carried out according to your will.
Most people are surprised to learn that you can name beneficiaries for bank accounts. But taking this simple step can ensure that the right people inherit your money. This is especially true if you have a lot in savings.
Also, list beneficiaries for your retirement accounts so they won’t get tied up in probate. Instead, they will go straight to their intended recipients at death.
You can’t include joint property in your estate if the other property owner is still alive. This is why most married couples own houses jointly. This ensures that the primary residency doesn’t get tied up in probate after a spouse’s death.
Jointly-held property will always go to the survivor. That’s why it’s important to check the specific ownership designation of your real estate.
The house should be retitled after the death of the first spouse. This will protect it from being held up in the courts after the death of the second spouse.
Our probate attorneys in Grand Rapids and Ionia are ready to help with your case. To request a legal consultation, please call Peterson Paletta Balice. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you shortly.