Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Three ways to avoid probate

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | probate administration

Administering a loved one’s estate is challenging. Coping with their death while trying to honor their wishes and comply with the law can be overwhelming.

The process is all the more cumbersome if the estate ends up in probate court. Probate court can prolong the time it takes to settle the estate; it can also be costly.

Thankfully, probate court isn’t inevitable. There are ways to circumvent this unwieldy stage of the estate administration process. Here are three to consider:

Living trusts

An easy way to keep your will out of probate is, well, not having a will in the first place. A living trust is a popular estate planning alternative preferred by many due to their flexibility, efficiency, and the fact that they are not subject to probate.

It should be noted, however, that living trusts have set-up costs that don’t fit within everyone’s budget.

Joint ownership

For most people, their house is the most valuable asset in their estate. An easy way to keep your house out of probate is to make your spouse a joint owner. When you die, they are vested with full ownership.

Payable-on-death accounts

In most cases, bank accounts end up in probate court. However, one type of account is not subject to probate, it’s known as a payable-on-death account.

It’s pretty self-explanatory: when the owner of the account dies, full ownership of the account is transferred to a designated beneficiary.

It’s important to note here, the owner retains full control of the account until their death.

Estate planning requires professional help

Although the above strategies seem simple on paper, no estate planning strategy should be undertaken without the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

An estate planning lawyer can help you evaluate options in light of your objectives. When the time comes, they can craft a bespoke legal strategy that honors your wishes and saves your heirs stress, time, and money.

Decatur, Texas residents shouldn’t hesitate to reach out. If cost is a concern, many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out-of-pocket cost to their clients.