While planning your estate, you will likely hear about the term, probate. Its important to understand the process of probate, so that you can set estate planning goals. Take a look at the following information, to learn more. If you have any questions, or if youd like to discuss probate in greater detail, contact an estate planning attorney.
The Probate Process
You may be wondering whats involved in the probate process. At the beginning of probate, a will must be validated. The executor of the estate submits the will to the probate court, in order to begin the process.
The executor is also responsible for notifying beneficiaries that probate has begun, and for alerting creditors, so that that past debts can be collected.
During probate, an executor must follow all guidelines given by the probate court. He or she will need to locate and manage all assets until its time for the assets to be distributed to the chosen beneficiaries. The executor will also be responsible for managing all financial aspects of the estate, and paying debts and taxes.
Property that Avoids Probate
Not all property must go through probate. If you own property in your individual name, its subject to probate. However, if you own property jointly with another individual, in a living trust, or with beneficiary designations (life insurance, retirement accounts, pensions), these assets arent subject to probate.
How to Avoid Probate
If youre looking to avoid probate, know that there are several planning techniques to consider. Many people choose to create and fund a revocable living trust to avoid probate. The trust must be both created and funded correctly in order to successfully avoid probate.
You may also choose to own property jointly with another individual, so the property can be directly transferred after your death. But, there are many pitfalls to joint ownership so be sure to consult with an estate planning attorney.
Consult with a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney
Your attorney can work with you to ensure that youre correctly planning to avoid probate or to help you through the probate process. If you have any additional questions about probate, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.