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How can you keep assets out of probate?

Posted by Joshua Gunsher, Esq. | Jan 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

There are several reasons you may want to keep your assets out of probate, which is the court-controlled process of administering your estate when you are gone. It could be because you want your loved ones to take over your estate immediately, or you have concerns about the probate process and costs.

Fortunately, probate is not compulsory if you plan accordingly. There are things you can do to avoid it, as explained below.

Hold property jointly

Suppose you have an asset like a house or vehicle that you would like your loved one to own after your death without the need for probate. In such a case, you can jointly hold the title to the asset in question. When you die, the remaining owner will assume full ownership of the property without the need for probate. 

However, there are things you need to look at if you opt for this method of avoiding probate, such as ownership designations and the right of survivorship.

Set up payable-on-death accounts

Payable-on-death (PODs) accounts work by designating beneficiaries to your accounts when you die. All you need is to notify the bank about who should inherit the money in your account. 

It is worth noting that you cannot avoid any legal obligations, such as outstanding debts with PODs, while you should also consider the ownership status of the funds in the account if you are married.

Create a trust

Trusts can be among the best ways of avoiding probate. When you establish a trust and put assets into it, they will not have to go through probate. Your loved ones who are the beneficiaries will automatically start receiving benefits when you die, per the terms and conditions of the trust.

Proper guidance is key

Having the necessary information when planning for the future of your estate can help you save a lot and ensure you protect your loved ones' interests now and in the future. Therefore, it is prudent to seek appropriate counsel when making such plans to ensure you make the best decisions and do everything by the book.

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