Probate Prevention: Five Ways to Protect Your Estate
Making an estate plan is about far more than exerting control after you are gone. It is a way to organize your finances while you are still of sound mind, allowing you to decide how you want to divide your assets. With the help of a skilled estate planning attorney, you can be assured that your personal effects and property will be handed down as you wanted, along with avoiding the pitfalls of probate. Considered by most to be a nightmarish legal limbo that can be both time-consuming and expensive, the probate process is famous for keeping much-needed assets out of the hands of heirs who may be responsible for fronting out the funds for burial, taxes, legal fees, and more.
Avoid probate with these five tips:
- Give everything away – For many, this is probably extremely unrealistic; however, if you don’t have an estate, you don’t have to worry about probate or what to do with assets.
- Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney – If you do have an estate to leave behind for your family, this is the first step you should take to protect your loved ones and their inheritance, as well as protecting your assets from probate later. With the help of a firm like Scriber Law Group, you will be able to create a solid will as the foundation of your estate, establish power of attorney in case you become unable to control your estate yourself while living, create an advance directive for healthcare for decision making by another agent if you become incapacitated, and more.
- Designate beneficiaries for separate accounts – Take advantage of assigning beneficiaries for life insurance policies, retirement accounts such as 401K and IRAs, and more. These types of financial accounts have their own beneficiary system and should not enter probate at all, with assets being passed down as seamlessly as possible.
- Create a living trust – Begin this process during your estate planning process, funding a trust that allows you to plan for the long-term, set up beneficiaries and any conditions, and designate a successor trustee to see that your assets are distributed as you wished, and outlined in your estate plan. The successor trustee should also be someone you trust to take over if you become incompetent to make decisions about the trust.
- Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship – This usually applies to bank accounts and deeds, and is an excellent way to bypass probate if you set up documentation properly. The joint owner must be clearly listed as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship—not tenants in common.
Contact the Scriber Law Group for all your estate planning needs, from wills to trusts, asset protection, and more. Call us at (404) 939-7562 or contact us online to set up a free and confidential consultations.