Trying to determine your deceased loved one’s last wishes can be challenging if they did not leave behind a will or estate plan. Resolving their financial and legal affairs can be tedious and stress inducing. Probate can be a positive thing if the deceased did not leave behind a will. Usually, the probate process goes pretty smoothly for all beneficiaries. The deceased’s will can be legitimized by the court and their money and property are distributed to beneficiaries or closest relatives. Usually, in bigger cases where an estate is larger, or a will is challenged by an outside individual, probate can be quite costly.
If you create a living trust or will, you can avoid probate automatically by transferring the ownership of your assets to a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. When you pass, your beneficiary has the legal authority divide your assets to whomever they see fit. Once you write a trust and pass away, your property is no longer considered yours and not part of your estate. It is vital that you remember that while assets are written in the trust, they may be liable to undergo estate taxes. Usually, joint ownership is shared with the deceased’s wife or husband, but it is not mandatory that this is so. Sometimes joint custody of a vehicle or property is shared with a close friend. When an individual passes, whoever they are sharing joint ownership receives sole ownership. Many people make the choice to divide their assets before they die in a will. If you want to avoid probate, you should consider gifting a beneficiary with an asset. Just be sure to keep in mind that costly gifts may be subjected to gift taxes. Insurance policies and retirement accounts will require the deceased to have to designated a beneficiary in order for the funds to be claimed. Usually the beneficiary is the husband or wife of the deceased, and if not then the child or grandchild. The only thing that would need to be presented is the deceased’s death certificate and the beneficiary’s government issued identification.
Contact an Attorney
You should consider contacting an estate planning lawyer such as the Estate Planning Attorney Scottsdale AZ locals trust so that they can help you to write an estate plan or will. They can give you information specific to your current state’s laws, guide you through more ways to avoid probate and further explain the probate process to you.
Thanks to authors at Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into Estate and Probate Law.