Given that probate can be expensive as well as a drawn out process, it’s no surprise that many people turn to estate planning strategies to avoid or simplify probate. Although in many cases probate can be streamlined, it might be best to think about strategies to avoid probate where you can.
There are several different strategies to do this and you might be able to accomplish additional estate planning goals by working directly with an estate planning lawyer in your immediate area.
The first way to address probate is to transfer property to a trust instead. This involves the creation of a trust document and the funding of that property into the trust. The second way to avoid probate is to use payable on death registrations, which are associated with any transfer on death accounts.
Most banks, savings and loans, brokerage firms, and credit unions will give you the ability to name a beneficiary for this. Another way to remove assets from your taxable or probate estate is to make tax free gifts. In 2021, for example, you are eligible to give your heirs up to $15,000 per person every year without a gift tax penalty.
Finally, there are many assets that automatically pass outside of the probate process. These are typically those associated with beneficiary designation forms, such as retirement accounts and annuity contracts, and life insurance policies. For more information about how to avoid probate with your own estate, speak with a lawyer who has extensive experience in this field.
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