Everyone knows that probate is inevitable and that it is annoying in several ways - costly, time-consuming, and subject to suspense and surprise.
Not everyone knows that there are easy ways to keep your life assets from going through the probate process.
Reduce your total assets
Most of these ways involve not owning your assets. Let me explain.
Probate means "proving" your will or having the courts supply a will for you. If your estate is smaller than $150,000, you can skip the process altogether.
Here are ways you can reduce the size of your assets:
- Make a gift of valuable assets like your home to your kids.
- Co-own real estate. If you own jointly with a family member or business associate, that property goes directly to the co-owners when you die.
- Create a living trust. The trust creates a kind of holding company that owns your assets instead of you. That sounds complicated, but it really isn't.
- Register your bank accounts in your name plus that of a family member using a payable-on-death form.
- Register your stock, bond, mutual funds and real estate in a transfer-on-death form. The moment you die, the ownership of those securities goes to a loved one.
- A similar transfer-on-death process exists for real estate holdings.
Getting the dollar number down
By now, the chances are good that you have brought your assets to under $150,000 - all using simple and affordable probate avoidance techniques. But there are many other devices that the rich have taken advantage of for years. Ordinary people are only just now awakening to the savings potential.
Best of all, these mechanisms are usually quite simple to create -- in most cases, a single sheet of paper. Of course, they have to be made out correctly.
Learn more about these opportunities. Call an Orange County probate lawyer known for straight talk -- Roshni T. Desai of Santa Ana.