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Avoiding Probate

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Firm News

Probate is the legal process that validates a will, settles the deceased’s debts, and distributes their assets to beneficiaries. However, probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and cumbersome. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid probate and ensure a smoother transfer of assets after your passing. Here we will explore valuable tips and strategies, courtesy of Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, to help you navigate the probate process more efficiently.

    • Establish a Living Trust: A living trust is a powerful estate planning tool that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. By doing so, these assets can bypass probate and be distributed directly to the designated beneficiaries upon your passing. Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, can assist you in creating a living trust tailored to your specific needs, ensuring your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.
    • Joint Ownership: Another effective method for avoiding probate is to hold property or financial accounts jointly with the right of survivorship. When one owner passes away, the ownership automatically transfers to the surviving joint owner without the need for probate. This strategy is commonly used for joint bank accounts, real estate, and other jointly owned assets.
    • Name Beneficiaries: For assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts, designating beneficiaries is crucial. By naming specific individuals as beneficiaries, these assets can be transferred directly to them upon your death, bypassing probate entirely. Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, can guide you in ensuring your beneficiary designations align with your estate planning goals.

Gift Assets: Consider gifting your assets during your lifetime to reduce the overall value of your estate. The annual gift tax exclusion allows you to gift a certain amount per year to individuals without incurring gift tax. By strategically gifting assets, you can minimize the value of your estate subject to probate.

  • Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Designations: Certain states offer Transfer-on-Death (TOD) designations for various assets, including securities and vehicles. With a TOD designation, you can name a beneficiary who will automatically receive ownership of the asset upon your death. Consulting Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, will ensure that you comply with the specific requirements and regulations related to TOD designations in your state.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: Navigating the complexities of estate planning and probate can be overwhelming, which is why it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney like Corey Szalai Law, PLLC. A skilled attorney can review your unique circumstances, guide you through the various options available, and create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your needs. They can also ensure that your documents comply with the relevant legal requirements and provide peace of mind.

Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process, but by implementing the strategies outlined above, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of your assets going through probate. Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, is dedicated to helping individuals like you navigate the complex world of estate planning and probate, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled and your loved ones are taken care of. Take proactive steps today to avoid probate and secure a smoother transition for your estate tomorrow.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult a qualified attorney from Corey Szalai Law, PLLC, for personalized guidance based on your specific situation.