Probate is the term used for the legal process of distributing a person's wealth and assets to their beneficiaries after they have passed away. Unfortunately, probate can take months to settle - even years if the will is contested. The good news is it doesn't have to be that way. Here are three ways you can help your family avoid probate after you pass.
1. Distribute your wealth and assets while you are alive.
Quite possibly the easiest way to ensure your family doesn't have to deal with the lengthy amount of time that probate takes is to give them everything while you are still alive. Of course, there will likely be some things you will have to hold on to, such as your house and car, but other assets can go ahead and be distributed.
You could even still give your house to a family member as long as you have a legal document drawn up stating you retain a life interest in the property. This would allow you to continue living in the home for the duration of your life, but your loved one wouldn't have to go through probate after your death.
2. Add a right to survivorship to any joint bank accounts.
If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, you will need to add a right to survivorship to it to ensure the account won't be frozen upon your death. Even though both of you are listed on the account, if you are the primary account holder, the account could get held up in probate if you don't have the right to survivorship listed on the account.
If you don't have a joint account, then that would be an added step to take to ensure your loved one has access to your money immediately after you pass away. All you have to do is go in with your loved one and have them added to the account. Just be sure to include the right to survivorship so they can still avoid getting tangled in probate.
3. Set up a trust for your loved ones.
Another great way to help your family avoid probate after you pass away is to set all of your assets and money up in trusts. This will ensure that you retain the control of your assets while you are still alive, but it also protects your family from having to wait for probate to clear. It is also a good way to keep everyone from knowing just how wealthy you were when you died since trusts aren't made public, but wills are.
To learn more, contact a company like Integra Law Group if you have any questions.