Understanding probate and how to avoid it

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When you die, your estate will go through probate. This court-controlled process is used to validate your will and ensure it is executed based on your wishes. 

When described in this way, probate seems simple. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and there are a few reasons you may want to take steps while you are alive to prevent your estate from going through probate after you pass away. 

Most people want their beneficiaries to receive the items in their estate immediately after they pass and keep the family business out of the limelight. Some of the specific reasons you may want to avoid probate are listed here. 

It can be a slow process

Probate takes time – sometimes a significant amount of time. Your beneficiaries may have to wait months or years to have control of the assets you bequeathed them. Until the probate process is complete, the executor controls everything. This person is assigned to implement the terms of the will. 

Besides, your estate must pay fees as it moves through probate. If you have a sizable estate, the amount that has to be paid can be significant. 

Steps to avoid probate

You can do a few things to prevent probate after you pass away. One is to put your assets in a living trust. After you pass, it will turn into an irrevocable trust and will be distributed based on the terms of the trust. 

You can also opt to jointly own properties where the ownership will automatically transfer to the other person when you pass or make accounts payable on death. It is wise to learn about all your legal options and implement the one that makes the most sense for your situation.