Can I Avoid Probate Following the Passing of a Loved One?

When a loved one passes away, the grieving process can take a serious emotional toll. In many cases, there will be a lot to sort out when it comes to the obligations associated with disbursing the property of a loved one. In the absence of an estate plan, it can be an overwhelming process to figure out what the person may have wanted.

Probate

When there is no will in place, legal and financial affairs are deciphered through the probate process. Tackling the process of probate can be stressful, especially when you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. During the probate process, the court will look at beneficiaries and determine how assets such as property and money will be distributed amongst them. The probate process can be exorbitant if someone contests the will or in situations where the estate is large.

Estate Planning Options

  • Probate can be prevented by developing an estate plan or will that determines beneficiaries who will receive your assets and property upon your passing.
  • An estate plan will circumvent the need for probate as the beneficiary will inherit your assets.
  • Once a trust has taken effect, the person who inherits your assets will officially become responsible for them and will be able to distribute them in any way they see fit. Once this occurs, they are no longer considered part of your estate.
  • A beneficiary may have to pay estate taxes on the trust.
  • Joint ownership is when property is owned by more than one person, in most cases this occurs with married couples.
  • When a person passes away, it is even possible for more than one person, such as a close friend or relative to receive joint custody of a property.
  • In many cases an estate is divided within the will amongst people who are identified by the person creating the will. This allows for you to take a closer look at how you will divide your assets and who they will go to.
  • You will be able to gift assets to beneficiaries but it will be important to keep in mind that the beneficiary may be required to pay taxes on gifts.
  • Be sure that all accounts have been updated by designating a beneficiary on all insurance policies and retirement accounts in order to avoid probate.

Developing an understanding of the options you may have will be important when going through probate, contacting an estate planning attorney such as the Estate Planning lawyer Memphis, TN locals trust will be beneficial as they will be able to offer knowledge and guidance through the process. With their assistance, they can make sure that you comply with any legalities that may be required.


Thanks to authors at Wiseman Bray LLC for their insight into Personal Injury Law.