Tips to Help You Avoid Probate
Avoiding probate, which is the official proving and recording of a will as valid, can save your beneficiaries or executor significant time, money and stress, which is why so many estate plans focus on using as many probate avoidance methods as possible. If avoiding probate is something you want to prioritize with your estate plan, below are a few tips and tools to help you accomplish exactly that:
- Revocable living trusts: These trusts allow you to place property into them and control that property while you are alive. That property will not be considered part of your probated estate, as you no longer technically own those assets — the trust does. After your death, your trustee can easily transfer that trust property to family and friends without having those assets pass through the probate process.
- Joint ownership: Any property you own jointly with another person will not go through the probate process. It will instead pass to the other owner(s) automatically.
- Payable-on-death accounts: If you wish, you can convert retirement accounts or bank accounts into payable-on-death accounts. To do this, you simply need to fill out a form in which you name your designated beneficiary. Upon your death, the money in the account passes directly to your beneficiary, bypassing the probate process.
- Gifts: Why wait until you have passed away? Giving gifts while you’re still alive helps you avoid probate at least somewhat, in the sense that your gifted assets have already been passed to your chosen heirs. Plus, you will reduce the taxable value of your estate and get the satisfaction of seeing your loved ones enjoy their inheritances while you are still alive.
These are just a few examples of strategies you can employ to avoid probate with your estate. You may also choose to transfer upon death securities, real estate and vehicles in Virginia. For further information and guidance, reach out to an experienced Charlottesville estate planning attorney at Miller Law Group, P.C. online or by calling 434-218-3987.