Probate is the legal process that occurs after a person dies. It includes proving the will is valid, identifying the deceased person’s property, having property appraised, paying debts and distributing the remaining assets as the will directs. It’s a lengthy process that involves much paperwork and court appearances by attorneys. Court fees and attorney fees are paid from the estate property.
Attorney Parker L. Clifton: Probate
Not all property passes through probate. Each state has its own amount of property that is allowed to pass through free of probate or a simplified probate procedure. However, there are effective probate-avoidance methods. Setting up a revocable living trust is one way to avoid the probate process. With this trust, the property is not part of the probate estate, although it is subject to federal estate taxes. The named trustee owns the trust property. After death, the trustee can quickly transfer the trust property to named heirs. With a living trust, beneficiaries do not incur long waiting periods and high court costs.
Joint ownership is another effective avenue to avoid probate. With joint tenancy with right of survivorship, the property automatically passes to the surviving owners without probate. Other joint ownership examples include tenancy by the entirety and community property with right of survivorship. Joint ownership is commonly used with married couples.
Pay-on-Death Accounts and Registrations allow you to convert retirement accounts and bank accounts to payable-on-death accounts. After you die, the money goes directly to beneficiaries without going through probate. In addition, there are transfer-on-death real estate deeds. This method is a savvy way to ensure beneficiaries receive the most of your assets.
Kentucky & Ohio Probate Lawyer: Parker L. Clifton
Since probate rarely benefits beneficiaries, it makes sense to take steps to avoid it. Age, health and wealth should all factor into your decision. If you’re in ill health, over 50 or own a significant amount of property, it’s wise to do some planning to avoid probate.
Turn to attorney Parker L. Clifton for advice about estate planning and let his years of experience work for you. This attorney will take the time to review your situation and answer any of your concerns or questions. He will let you know your best options for avoiding the probate process. He’ll also draw up the documents according to your wishes.