We have clients ask several times a week, “How do I avoid probate?” It makes sense; most people want to keep their personal and financial affairs private, save every dollar they can, and get legal matters settled as quickly as possible
How to Avoid Probate We have clients ask several times a week, “How do I avoid probate?” It makes sense; most people want to keep their personal and financial affairs private, save every dollar they can, and get legal matters settled as quickly as possible. In other words, most people want to avoid probate. You can avoid probate: With a fully funded revocable living trust. This is the best way to avoid probate because there is no down side except for some upfront paper work, but your estate planning attorney can handle that for you. Note that the trust must be fully funded. This means that all of your assets are titled in the name of your trust. Jointly owned assets have a survivorship feature, meaning that upon the death of the first joint owner to die, the asset transfers automatically, by operation of law, to the surviving owner. In other words, jointly owned assets avoid probate, but only on the first death. Any assets that you give away during you lifetime avoid probate. If you don’t own it, it’s not in your estate. However, only give away assets that you really will never need during your lifetime. Life insurance and retirement assets avoid probate if you have a designated beneficiary. This means that you name an individual as your beneficiary, not your estate. Life insurance and retirement assets are ruled by contract law. Any assets that you own with a transfer on death (TOD) or payment on death (POD) designation also avoid probate. They transfer by contract to the named beneficiary. And, any assets that you own in trust for (ITF) for someone else, avoid probate as well. If you don’t like the idea of having your beneficiaries’ contact information along with what they received from your estate published at the courthouse for anyone and everyone to see, you’ll want to avoid probate. Like to save money and time...and make things easier for your loved ones? Then, you’ll likely want to avoid probate. And, now you know how. Have any questions? Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney. Experienced estate planning attorneys Seattle WA of the Byrd Garrett PLLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Seattle WA. To learn more about these free resources, please visit www.byrdgarrett.com today.
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