Usually, assets that may be probated are titled under your name. Such assets may include your bank accounts, investments, home and vehicles. If you die and these assets are under your name, they’ll have to go through probate before they’re transferred to your heirs or beneficiaries.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to prevent most of your assets from going through the probate process. Below are a few ways you can avoid probate:
1. Create a trust
When you place your assets in a trust, you can still continue using the assets during your lifetime. But upon your death, your assets will automatically be passed to the trust beneficiaries. Therefore, if you put your assets under a trust, your assets won’t go through probate before they’re transferred to your heirs.
2. Have joint ownership of assets
When you co-own property with someone else, and there’s a right of survivorship, the co-owner will automatically receive the property after you pass on. Some of the types of joint ownership available include:
- Joint tenancy: This is a type of ownership where two people own equal shares of a property, which could be a vehicle, real estate, bank account or any other valuable property. When one of the owners dies, the other owner (married or not) will receive the property.
- Tenancy by the entirety: This form of ownership is similar to joint tenancy but is only allowed for married couples and limited to real estate properties.
3. Use payable-on-death accounts
If you have accounts, such as CDs and saving bank accounts, you may be able to name someone to become the beneficiary upon your death. This way, you will still have control over your money until you die, and the named beneficiary can access the remainder.
No one likes thinking about their death. However, planning for your estate will help protect your loved ones and ensure they receive what is rightfully theirs after you die.