What will happen to your property when you are no longer here? Well, that answer can be completely up to you, with a few exceptions. There are many people who are surprised that the things they do or do not do throughout their life can have an impact on how their properties, assets, and valuables are transferred after they have passed on.
If an executor of an estate ever hears the word probate, there will probably be a chill going across the body. However, going through a probate does not have to be this big nightmare of a process, especially if you have the right counsel. If your property goes through the probate process, it can add on to the stress and emotions that are already weak and fragile during this time.
If you understand what property items can be probate assets, you will be able to understand how you can avoid probate court.
If you have an asset that is joined with someone else, that particular asset will go to the joint owner after your death. You will not have to go through a probate if there is joint ownership in an asset. Usually there is joint ownership on a checking account or a deed.
Many people choose to use a living trust as a way to avoid probate. Property that is left behind through a living trust can be given to the beneficiaries without the need of probate.
The living trust document has to list all of the property, list who will be the trustee, and list the person who will get the property when the trust maker passes away. The trustee is someone who will be responsible for taking care of the property.
If someone has a retirement account or life insurance, a form can be completed that will allow you to list the person’s name who will receive the benefits after you have gone. Whatever company is holding your assets, you can simply speak to someone about changing the beneficiary designation. You will find that several companies give you the flexibility you need in doing this. You can name a primary beneficiary and contingent beneficiaries; you will also be able to divide the amount in percentages.