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What steps can you take to avoid probate?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Estate Planning

If you are planning your Florida estate, it’s important to be thorough. You will also want to avoid having your estate go through probate, which can be highly time-consuming and stressful for your family. While you go through the estate planning process, it’s wise to get help from a financial advisor.

What is probate and why should you avoid it?

The probate process occurs through the court and takes place after a person has passed away without having a valid will. However, it can also happen when a person dies while having a will in place. Probate can be a long, tedious process if there are multiple beneficiaries and a sizable estate. It can also be costly if there is an executor or attorney involved.

The executor goes through all of the assets and liabilities and decides who receives what while examining the will. They will also ensure that creditors are paid back. It’s possible for someone to contest the will during probate as well.

How can you avoid probate?

Your estate plan should be thorough so that you can avoid having your estate go through probate. You can decide how much you want to spend to avoid the process, but you should consult with a professional to help. You can do the following to avoid probate:

  • Joint property ownership: Jointly owning property through joint tenancy with the right of survivorship can help prevent probate. It allows another person to take over full ownership of the property if one person dies.
  • Name beneficiaries on everything: Naming your beneficiaries on all your property and financial accounts can prevent probate.
  • Pay on death and transfer on death: You can name a beneficiary for your bank and retirement accounts, vehicle and other property. This means if you pass away, the beneficiaries will receive what they’re due upon your death.
  • Revocable living trust: A revocable living trust is maintained throughout your lifetime but should be managed by an attorney. It holds your property and prevents probate after you pass away. The person named to inherit the property gets ownership after your death.
  • Gifts: Designating heirs to receive gifts can help you avoid probate. Note that those that are $15,000 or more in value can be taxed.