Thinking about life continuing after the death of someone close may not be easy, but for the sake of your loved ones, you should. Creating a plan for what happens to your financial and personal property after you die can set your family up for peace of mind and financial security. You may want to create a plan that minimizes or avoids your estate's involvement in probate. The delays of going through probate court may mean your family must wait to receive what you intended them to have after your death. Probate is also expensive and will take a large chunk of money from the estate for lawyers and court fees.
One fiduciary tool a probate lawyer may suggest to bypass probate altogether is the trust account. You, the trustor, deposit money or property into the account for the benefit of someone else, the trustee. Upon your death, the trustee directly becomes the account owner.
Life insurance policies deliver money quickly after your death and do not go through probate. When setting these up, you name the person or persons who will receive the proceeds of the policy upon your death. Once the insurance company receives the death certificate, they issue payment to the beneficiaries directly. Retirement accounts also include beneficiary designations, which means they, too, automatically pay to those named when you die.
Putting your name and someone else's name on an account or piece of property will pass your shares to them when you die. A joint tenancy, either with the right of survivorship or entirety, will belong to your co-owners. If you are married and own property with your spouse, that will become your spouse's whether you have a will or not.
While probate in and of itself is not bad, it may prevent your family from gaining access to money quickly after your death. Looking at options to legally filter your property and assets to those you love without the hassle of the court system is worth considering. Taking the stress from their shoulders after your death helps set them up for moving forward successfully.