Estate planning lawyers will always describe the difficulties of the probate process, and it is not a marketing tool. There is a reason why you may be better off avoiding probate, and it starts with a lower stress level for your family. Most estates will need to go through probate, although there are some exceptions.
Even if the estate is a small one, it would still need to go through probate, albeit with simplified procedures. The main exception that allows estates to stay out of probate is if you create a trust before you die. Probate is the legal process to close out the estate and transfer the assets. If you form a trust, the assets are titled in the name of the trust when the instrument becomes effective. Thus, there is no need for a process to change the title on the assets and distribute them because the trust is already operational. All that needs to happen is that the terms of the trust must be followed.
If the estate consists solely of transfer-on-death deeds and accounts with beneficiaries, there may be no need for probate. If the account has designated beneficiaries, it will automatically be transferred to them once they show proof of the death of the account owner. These types of accounts include:
- Investment accounts
- Some bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance proceeds
You should consult with an attorney to see if there is any way that you can reasonably avoid probate in a cost-effective way. It can help your family in the future when they are going through a difficult time.
The attorneys at Bountiful law can help your family devise and execute an effective estate plan. To learn more, you can send us a message online or call us at 425.517.1653.