When a person’s estate is probated after they pass away, creditors and taxes will be paid out of the that person’s estate and then the remaining estate assets will be distributed to the heirs of the estate. This process is known as probate. It is a process that can sometimes be lengthy and costly. Some people in Riverdale will wonder if there is any way their estate can bypass the probate process.
One way to bypass probate is to give away or otherwise transfer ownership of all your assets. If an estate has no assets, there is nothing to probate. However, this is an extreme measure to take that may not be practical for most people.
Another way to bypass probate is to give someone else rights to a bank account, investment account or real estate as a joint owner with right of survivorship. This way, ownership of the asset will pass from the deceased to the joint owner, rather than being probated. However, there are tax issues that come with adding a person as a joint owner to an asset. Issues can also arise if the joint owner is the subject of a lawsuit, a divorce occurs or the joint owner passes away first.
Finally, one can consider executing a revocable living trust in order to bypass probate. Revocable living trusts are written documents in which a person transfers title of the asset to the name of the trust. Since those assets then become the property of the trust, rather than the deceased, they will not be probated. However, any assets not transferred to the trust at the time of the person’s death will be probated.
These are only some ways to bypass the probate process. However, what works for one person may not work for another, as every person’s situation is unique. It is important to seek the legal help necessary if you want to bypass probate to ensure your wishes are met in an enforceable manner.