Daniel J. Wright
Assets that Avoid Probate
Writing a will isn’t anyone’s favorite task, as a estate planning lawyer State College, PA trusts can explain. By creating a will, you’re not only acknowledging that you are going to die one day, but you are actively planning for your death. Creating a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family and loved ones. Putting your wants and wishes down on paper will help your beneficiaries to avoid unnecessary hassles and you are comforted by knowing that your life’s possessions end up where you want them.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document in which you state who will manage your estate after you die. Your estate can have expensive things such as cars and vacation homes or any small items that could hold a sentimental value.
If you have a spouse, children, or other family members that financially depend on you, they could need access to your funds from your estate immediately after your death. Because of this, you should have an idea how to transfer some or all of your assets in a way that can avoid going through the probate process. Probate is a process that is supervised by the court to identify and collect assets of a deceased person and distribute them to beneficiaries and creditors. When a loved one dies and a beneficiary is notified they are to receive an asset of some type, they can become very frustrated when they learn that receiving their inheritance may take many months or in some cases over a year.
Probate Free Transfers
Transferring assets in a way to avoid going through probate can be achieved in multiple ways. One way is to use some of the probate free transfer techniques such as transfer on death securities, death bank accounts, or life policies with beneficiaries. In each situation, you are able to nominate a beneficiary for the proceeds of the policy or account. Then the financial institution managing the funds will be able to quickly transfer the funds to the beneficiary on the account with proof of a death certificate.
A second method is to transfer your assets into a living trust. Assets which are held in a living trust are not able to become part of your estate that is probatable as the assets are not held in your name at that time. This would allow the assets to avoid going through probate and quickly be given to any beneficiaries of the trust at the time of your death.
The third option would be to change over any assets that you own in your own name into a jointly owned asset. If an asset is jointly owned, your assets can have a right of survivorship applied. A right of survivorship means that when one of the joint owner dies, the assets automatically go to the surviving joint owner. The joint owner is able to be a relative or a friend and the assets are able to be anything from cash to a real estate.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from De Boef Lucchesi, P.C. for their insight into probate.