Death is inevitable, yet for some reason, it always seems to catch us off guard. When a person dies, their estate will be subject to probate, even if they died testate or with a will. Probate is the process of accessing and identifying a deceased person’s estate and valuing it before distributing the estate among the beneficiaries in the will. The probate process can take time. It can also be expensive. Fortunately, you can help your beneficiaries and heirs avoid the probate process altogether by incorporating the tools below into your estate plan.
Create a living trust
You can consider creating and funding a trust. You can transfer your assets and property to the trust and name yourself as the trustee to continue to manage and own your estate while you are alive. The sheltered entity where you merge your entire estate becomes a living trust. You should appoint a successor trustee to take over the management of your estate when you die.
A trust document will legally protect your living trust. It will outline the real estate property, bank accounts, financial assets and other valuable personal property you choose to transfer to the trust. It also lets you explicitly detail your trust instructions regarding financial matters and beneficiary designation. While a living trust offers comprehensive legal protection, it can be complicated to set up. You must make sure you do it properly.
Consider joint ownership
You can also consider sharing the ownership of your assets with another individual or multiple individuals. Joint ownership or joint tenancy will automatically allow the surviving owner with the right of survivorship to own the entire asset or property when a joint tenant dies.
Set a Transfer on Death designation
A Transfer on Death designation will allow the named beneficiaries to receive the assets directly upon the owner’s death. You can include a Transfer on Death deed on different kinds of assets.
Proper estate planning can safeguard the interests of your surviving loved ones. It will also give them security. The probate process can be a difficult experience, especially for people dealing with the death of a loved one.