When it comes to planning your estate, the one thing you want to avoid at all costs is probate. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to be stuck in the probate process for years after you've passed away. Not only is it time consuming, but it can also have devastating effects on your family, especially if bill collectors come out of the woodwork, looking for their cut of your estate. Luckily, there are ways to avoid probate court, and help your family move on quickly after you pass. Here are three steps you can take to keep an estate out of probate court.
Place Your Assets in a Trust
If you're trying to avoid probate, the best thing you can do is set up a trust with you as the designated trustee. Setting up a trust will keep your assets out of the probate court, while still allowing you to use those assets while you're alive. Once you've set up your trust, you can designate trustees to succeed you after your passing. If you discover that you've forgotten to include certain assets in your trust, you can amend it to include those items. This will ensure that your loved ones won't lose out on them once you're gone. If you do set up a trust, be sure to hire a management company that can help you ensure the proper protection of your assets.
Set Up Joint Tenancies
Another way to protect your family from the probate process is to create joint tenancies. Through joint tenancies, you enter into ownership of assets with specific family members. Once you pass away, those items covered under joint tenancy transfer directly over to the designated co-owner, which means they're protected against probate interference. If you're worried that creditors, or others, may go after your assets, joint tenancy is a good way of preventing that action.
Liquidate Your Assets Ahead of Time
If you want your family to avoid headaches altogether after you pass, start liquidating your assets early. This can include selling your assets, or simply gifting them to specific people prior to your passing. Once you're gone, you'll have nothing that will need to be divided up or transferred.
Now that you're preparing for the future, it's a good idea to get your estate in line. The tips provided here will help your family avoid the stress that can be involved in the probate process.