Ways To Avoid Probate

Books on Avoiding The Use of a Probate LawyerFor the most part, probate law is simple and easy to avoid, and yet many people stop working to do so. Below you will find a list of the four methods to avoid probate. What will work in your situation will depend on how your assets are titled and who you want to inherit your estate after you pass away. A Lake Elsinore probate Attorney at Steve Bliss Law explains the best way to avoid the probate courts in Riverside County, California.

Eliminate All of Your Probate-able Property

The most severe way to prevent the probate of your estate is to get rid of all of your property since, without any property, you will not have an estate that will require to be probated. Naturally, this really isn’t useful since you will need a loan to survive on up until your death, however in some instances offering most of your assets away through making use of a special kind of trust of which you can be a beneficiary might make sense. Utilizing this type of trust combined with several of the other techniques explained listed below for any properties that are not moved into the trust will indicate no probate possessions and for that reason, no probate estate.

What Are Non-Probate Assets

Non-probate possessions are a particular type of property that won’t need to go through the probate procedure after you die and will instead pass directly to your successors. Owning non-probate property is among the simplest methods to avoid costly and time-consuming probate. The non-probate property will usually be available to your beneficiaries within a brief amount of time after your death when your successors receive a death certificate.

A Word of Caution About Non-Probate Property

While preventing probate may on the surface area seem a good outcome, in some cases non-probate property will wind up in the hands of recipients, or worse yet, creditors, you didn’t plan to have it. For instance, if you own a savings account collectively with among your children (we’ll call her Sue) however you have three kids, and you desire all 3 of them to acquire your property, instead the joint account will pass 100% to Sue after your death and she will be under no legal commitment to divide the account with your other two kids.

You likewise require to be mindful that if Sue is wed and gets divorced or has a judgment against her, then her ex-husband or the financial institution with the judgment might try to take the properties kept in your savings account. Therefore, non-probate property ought to just be used after understanding precisely who will inherit it after you pass away along with the legal repercussions of adding owners to accounts or real estate deeds.

In basic, there are 6 various types of non-probate assets which are explained in the information below.

6 Types of Non-Probate Assets

Possessions you own in your sole name but have a payable on death (POD), transfer on death (TOD), or in trust for (ITF) designation will prevent probate after you pass away. It includes Health Savings Accounts and Transfers on Death or Beneficiary Deeds which are readily available in a handful of states. However, if all of the designated recipients predecease the account or homeowner, then the account or realty will need to go through probate.

Possessions you own collectively with your partner or others, such as a kid or sibling, through rights of survivorship (joint tenants with rights of survivorship, or JTWROS) will prevent probate after you die.

Possessions you own with your partner in a particular type of joint ownership recognized in some states called occupants by the entirety (or TBE) will avoid probate after you pass away.

Properties owned by your Revocable Living Trust at the time of your death will avoid probate after you die. Possessions that aren’t owned by your trust at the time of your death, however, remain in your own name without some kind of beneficiary designation will not prevent probate after you pass away.

Assets in which you keep a life estate, and the remainder passes to a non-charitable recipient aside from yourself, consisting of property owned in specific states by a boosted life estate deed, will prevent probate after you die.

Assets owned by you through contract rights that are payable to a designated recipient after your death, including life insurance policies, IRAs, 401( k) s and annuities, will prevent probate after you die. Nevertheless, if all of the designated beneficiaries of any of these kinds of assets predecease the account owner, then the possession will require to go through probate.


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The Law Firm of Steven F. Bliss ESQ.
36330 Hidden Springs Rd Suite E, Wildomar, CA 92595
Phone: +1 (951) 459-3330

Use Joint Ownership With Rights of Survivorship or Tenancy by the Entirety

Adding a joint owner to a bank account, financial investment account, or to the deed for real estate will also prevent probate, offered that it is clear that the account is owned as joint renters with rights of survivorship and not as tenants in typical. If you are married, then in particular states you and your spouse can own property with rights of survivorship in the type of tenancy by the whole.

There are, nevertheless, several downsides to counting on joint ownership with rights of survivorship or tenancy by the totality to avoid probate:

♥ In most cases, including a joint owner to an account or deed will be a taxable gift that needs to be reported to the IRS on a federal gift income tax return (IRS Form 709).

♥ If a joint owner is taken legal action against or gets divorced, then a judgment financial institution or separating spouse might have the ability to make some or perhaps all of the possessions in the joint account.

♥ If a joint owner passes away before you do, then 50% and even 100% of the joint account could be consisted of in the departed owner’s estate for estate tax purposes.

♥ If you are in a second or later marriage, leaving your property to your partner by right of survivorship or tenancy by the whole will suggest that your spouse will be complimentary to do whatever they desire with your property after they die.

This might not be what you want.

To put it simply, you may want your partner to have usage of your property after you pass away, but then after your partner later dies, you might want your property to go to your own kids. In this situation, joint ownership with right of survivorship or occupancy by the entirety will not accomplish your final dreams considering that your partner might easily select to leave your property to their kids instead of your children, or perhaps to a brand-new spouse.

Usage Beneficiary Designations

If you own life insurance or possessions kept in a pension such as an IRA, 401( k), or annuity, then you are currently making the most of probate avoidance through using beneficiary classifications. What you might not know is that the majority of states allow you to designate recipients for your bank accounts (this is described as a “payable on death” or “POD” account), and also for your non-retirement investment accounts (this is described as a “transfer on death” or “TOD” account). Moreover, a handful of states permit you to designate recipients for your property through making use of a transfer on death deed– or beneficiary deed– or affidavit.

In other states, you can use a life estate deed to maintain ownership of realty during your lifetime and after that pass the property onto the recipients of your option after you pass away without the requirement to probate the estate.

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Utilize a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a written agreement which covers three stages of your life:

♥ While you live and well
♥ If you end up being mentally incapacitated
♥ After you die

However, signing the revocable living trust contract by itself is inadequate to avoid the probate of your property after you die. Instead, once the trust agreement is approved, you will require to take your possessions and title them in the name of your trust. Just after your revocable living trust has actually ended up being the record owner of your belongings– instead of you– will the assets prevent probate.

This is called money in the trust, and if you picture your trust as a container, then you need to fill the container with your assets to make sure that the possessions will prevent probate after you pass away. If any of your belongings sit outside of the trust (pail) at the time of your death, then the unfunded properties will require to be probated unless they have a beneficiary classification or are owned with rights of survivorship by somebody who endures you.
The Bottom Line on Avoiding Probate

As you can see, there are just a restricted number of ways to prevent probate. What will really work for you will depend upon your own unique family and monetary circumstances. The bottom line is that by using several of the strategies explained above to avoid the probate of your property, you will be developing the peace of mind for you as well as comfort for your loved ones throughout a difficult time.