Want To Avoid Probate? How An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Probate is not a desirable process. However, it can be necessary for certain circumstances.


Probate – when the court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s property – is a lengthy process that prevents your loved one from receiving your assets for at least 6 months. Plus, it will cost your family money in filing fees, and attorney fees, and it will make your finances a matter of public record. 


Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid probate and ensure your belongings go to your loved ones quickly and without a long, public process. 


Transfer Property Before You Die

Before you die – especially if you are ill and know you don’t have much time left – you can start to gift your property to your loved ones. However, the biggest negative to doing this is once you gift it, it is no longer yours. So, if you need access to the property while you’re alive, you will not be able to give it away prematurely. If you are considering this option, you should work with your probate lawyer or estate planning attorney to determine if this is the best option for you and if there are any implications for your loved ones (like taxes). 


Establish Joint Ownership

You can avoid probate on property that you own with another party. In these cases, ownership will pass to the surviving partner. To do this, you must make sure the title and deed of the property clearly show both owners. You should consult your estate planning attorney to ensure the paperwork is clean and see if there are any other forms or steps you need to take to ensure the property goes to your partner. 


You can establish joint ownership of real estate property, as well as vehicles, financial accounts, and others. If you’re curious if you can establish co-ownership of an asset, consult your estate planning attorney.  


Designate Beneficiaries

Accounts where you have declared beneficiaries usually do not have to go through probate. Certain accounts – like your retirement account – are pay-on-death accounts where the funds are automatically distributed to listed beneficiaries on the account, and the account is then closed.


Set Up a Living Trust

If you have a large estate, the best option to avoid probate can be by establishing a living trust. You can create a trust by working with your estate planning attorney to complete the necessary paperwork to make the living trust a separate entity. Your attorney will help you transfer property to the trust, of which you will become the trustee. You retain control of the trust while you’re alive, and then after you die the property will be transferred to your beneficiaries. 


Create a Will

Instead of a trust, you can also create a will. A will is easier to establish, however, it doesn’t avoid probate. Instead, it can help speed up the probate process and reduce some of the costs. When deciding between a trust and a will, you should work with your estate planning attorney to determine what option is best for you and your family. 


Why Hire a Probate Lawyer Us

When you need an estate planning attorney to help you avoid probate, let the experts at Johnstone Adams LLC represent you. Our probate lawyers will assist you through the process.


Ranked in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.


To get started, contact us at 844-682-7682 or info@johnstoneadams.com.

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