3 Ways Estate Planning Helps You Avoid Probate

3 Ways Estate Planning Helps You Avoid Probate Attorney Norton Shores, MIIf you don’t hire an estate planning attorney before writing a will, your assets could be held in probate after you’re gone.

Probate is a process the court goes through to authenticate a last will and testament to ensure everything is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased.

Continue reading to learn how estate planning helps you avoid probate while honoring your final wishes.

Avoiding Probate with Estate Planning

Why is Probate Sometimes Needed?

We understand that probate is frustrating for surviving family members after having suffered the loss of a loved one. However, probate court has the important role of making sure the decedent’s final wishes are carried out and respected. Our probate attorney has plenty of experience helping families contest wills or streamline the probate process as much as possible.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

Many of our clients are concerned with avoiding probate so their assets aren’t kept from beneficiaries for months or even years while the court authenticates their wills. According to Nolo.com, probate can also eat up to 5% of your estate’s value through attorney and probate court costs.

  • Name Beneficiaries for Accounts

    One of the easiest ways to avoid probate is to name beneficiaries for your savings, checking, and retirement accounts. Whether you have a little or a lot in these accounts, it’s important to name beneficiaries while you’re in good mental and physical health. That way, there’s a clear line of inheritance from you to your beneficiaries once you pass away.

    If you’re unsure what other accounts need beneficiaries, schedule a consultation with our estate planning attorney. We can help you make sure they’re no loopholes or inconsistencies in your estate plan.

  • Write a Living Trust

    Like the name suggests, a living trust goes into effect while you are still living. An estate lawyer can help you set up a living trust and appoint a trustee. The assets you place “in trust” are then managed by the trustee. Since you’re still alive when all this happens, the courts don’t have to prove through probate that everything is being carried out according to your will.

  • Hold Property Jointly

    Jointly-held property will always go to the surviving property owner. For this reason, many married couples own houses or other property jointly so it won’t be held in probate after one spouse passes away. It is also for this reason that joint property can’t be included in your estate if the other property owner is still alive. Our estate planning attorney can help you check the specific ownership designation of your real estate.

Still have questions? Call today to request a consultation with our elder law attorney. We’ll make sure you have the appropriate estate planning documents to avoid probate and honor your final wishes.

Our Norton Shores estate lawyer can help you avoid probate by writing an ironclad last will and testament. To request a consultation with our elder law attorney Douglas H. McPhail, feel free to call (231) 799-4994.