What is the probate process? Many people assume that, no matter what, the probate process is going to turn into a long, complex, expensive process that puts people at each other’s throats. The truth is that it is commonly practiced in a variety of procedures when assets are being passed onto beneficiaries after someone passes away. Probate is the process where permission is actually given to pass on certain assets to the people who are supposed to receive them.
People tend to believe that, if a person dies and they have left behind a will, then probate is a requirement to meet the requirements of the will. Probate processes can also happen when somebody dies without a will and their property still needs to be distributed in a way that is fair to all parties involved. Some people do not want to go through probate because they believe that it is much easier to skip the process. There are no laws that state that a will or property absolutely has to go through probate, which is where things get interesting.
Ways to Avoid Probate
Many families avoid going through the probate process every year when their loved ones pass away. Today we will talk about how probate law can be bypassed.
Joint Ownership: When the property was owned jointly between a person and the individual who passed away, that makes the process of new ownership much easier. There are three ways that you can hold property jointly with another person: joint tenancy with a right to survivorship (survivor takes full ownership after their loved one passes), tenancy by the entirety (also available to married couples), and community property (spouses hold property in states with community property laws).
Bank Account Beneficiaries: Perhaps the individual who passed away designated a beneficiary to their bank account, called a pay-on-death account. Investments can also be designated through a transfer-on-death account.
Revocable Living Trust: A loved one can create a living trust as a way for loved ones to avoid probate. The grantor will fund a trust by putting assets into it and then hand off the trust to the successor trustee, who will distribute property according to their wishes.
Giving Property Away: Many people can start thinking about their futures and the futures of their loved ones by giving property away while they are still alive. By doing so, it will not become part of the estate upon death. The chosen heir will have ownership of the asset and it will never become part of the probate process.
As you can see, there are many ways that families of loved ones avoid the probate process every year. Many of these methods are simple transfers that are nowhere near as complicated as the probate process itself. If your loved one has passed and you want to find out more about probate, call us today at the Leiva Law Firm at 818-519-4465. We can help you every step of the way.