Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing assets after someone passes away. Probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful for loved ones. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid probate. Here are some tips on how to avoid probate:
Create a Living Trust
One of the most effective ways to avoid probate is to create a living trust. A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer your assets to a trust while you are alive. The assets in the trust can be managed by a trustee, who can distribute them to the beneficiaries according to your wishes after you pass away. Because the assets are owned by the trust and not by you, they do not have to go through probate.
Another way to avoid probate is to hold assets in joint ownership with another person. For example, you can own property with your spouse as joint tenants with right of survivorship. This means that if one spouse passes away, the other spouse automatically becomes the owner of the property, and it does not have to go through probate.
Certain assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, allow you to name a beneficiary. When you pass away, these assets go directly to the named beneficiary and do not have to go through probate.
Transfer on Death (TOD) Designations
Similar to beneficiary designations, transfer on death (TOD) designations allow you to name a beneficiary to receive certain assets after you pass away. This can include bank accounts, securities, and real estate. When you pass away, the asset is transferred to the named beneficiary without having to go through probate.
Small Estate Affidavit
In Texas, if the estate is worth less than $75,000, the beneficiaries may be able to use a small estate affidavit to avoid probate. This is a simplified process that allows the beneficiaries to transfer the assets without having to go through the probate court.
Probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process. However, there are ways to avoid probate, such as creating a living trust, joint ownership, beneficiary designations, transfer on death designations, and small estate affidavits. If you are considering ways to avoid probate, it is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you create a plan that best fits your needs and goals. An attorney can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.
We have helped hundreds of people go through probate, with and without a will; we can help you too! Call our office at 832.408.0505 and book your Legal Strategy Session today!