How Can You Avoid Probate of Your Estate?
Many clients ask, “How can I make sure my estate doesn’t go to Probate Court?”
Anything you own in our own name, alone, at the time of your death goes requires Probate Court action to transfer it to your heirs. This includes when you have a Will – Wills go to Probate.
Property held jointly with the rights of survivorship will go to the joint owner upon your death. Therefore, if you own property alone, you can execute a Quit Claim Deed conveying the property from you to yourself and another. When you do that the joint tenant’s signature will be required if you decide to sell your property prior to your death.
For financial assets such as checking accounts, savings accounts and brokerage accounts, you can request the institution to make the accounts “payable on death” or “transferable upon death”. You will need to list the individuals who you want to have the proceeds from these accounts.
Life Insurance Policies, IRA’s, 401K’s, and Annuities have beneficiaries. Thus, they will transfer upon your death.
Your automobile can be transferred after your death to your next of kin by executing an affidavit at the Secretary of State’s office.
Finally, if these solutions do not meet your needs, you can execute a Revocable (Living) Trust during your lifetime and place all of your assets into the Trust. In that way, the Trust assets will pass at the time of your death to those named in the Trust without any involvement of the Probate Court.