You know avoiding probate is what you want. You may not even know why you want it but you know you do. Some of you are probably asking, what is probate and why would we want to be avoiding probate?
Probate is a process of law that deals with a will after a person dies. It basically takes the estate of a deceased person from their death to the distribution of their assets. What that entails is first the proving of a will. The court will want to know that the will is valid. Once they determine validity, the court will inventory and appraise the assets. Then, they will look at any debts and/or taxes that must be paid and make sure that these are paid up front out of the assets of the estate. Finally, they will effect the distribution of the remainder of the property.
I’ve heard that avoiding probate is wise. How do I do that?
First let’s look at the why of it. Why on earth would you want to avoid probate? Well, there are two very good reasons: 1. Probate ties assets up in court for months, and that is generous. It could be longer. 2. It is expensive.
Nobody wants their assets tied up in court and reduced by fees so let’s look at the second part of this equation. Is there a way for avoiding probate altogether? Why yes, there is.
In California, there is an easier procedure for smaller estates. California allows a deceased party to pass up to $100,000 without probate. So, if you have a small estate, you may want to contact an attorney to understand this procedure better. You can also do specific things before you die that will help keep your will out of probate. There are 4 ways to avoid probate.
- Give away your property now and avoid the need to put it in a will altogether.
- Create a revocable living trust. Although, the estate will have to pay taxes on it, you will avoid probate on this property.
- Change ownership of property to joint tenancy with right of survivorship
- Create pay on death bank accounts or transfer on death vehicles.
Avoiding probate can be done! It just requires a little thought on your part when estate planning.