How to Minimize the Fuss an Estate Will Cause

Posted on: 14 May 2020

One of the biggest worries people tend to have when it comes to dealing with estates is how to keep the difficulty level to a minimum. This usually means asking an estate planning attorney how to keep as much of the process out of probate as possible. Let's look at what options an estate planning lawyer might tell you to consider.

Set Up Payable-Upon-Death Paperwork for Accounts

Numerous forms of financial accounts aren't required by law to be transferred via probate. The trick, however, is to have the right paperwork on file so the institutions that hold those accounts will be able to transfer them. If there is such paperwork on file, all the person receiving the proceeds from the account will have to do is bring in a death certificate. There may be a bit of a verification process, but once that's concluded, the account should be transferred.

Joint Ownership

Establishing joint ownership of a business is a great way to ensure other parties will get control of it when you pass. For example, someone with two adult children might name them as minority owners of the business. The parent would retain control of the business in their lifetime, and rights of survivorship could be transferred to their descendants after they die.

Sell Property

An estate planning attorney will tell you this is a pretty radical plan, but it serves a purpose if you absolutely wish for the beneficiaries to avoid probate. Selling the property allows you to convert it to cash. You can then deposit the cash into accounts that will have payable-upon-death requirements attached to them.

Revocable Living Trust

One major advantage of this approach is that it allows some flexibility for scenarios other than death. Some companies, like, know that you can have the trust transferred if you disappear or are incapacitated. A will can be triggered by your passing, transferring assets into the trust. Some folks go so far as to have the will only create a trust once they die.

Keep Taxes and Bills Paid

Among the parties outside of your family, the ones with the most power to force a probate hearing are the government and your creditors. Try to keep these folks paid up as much as possible on taxes, credit, mortgages, and other items. As long as they don't have a complaint, they can't force the issue. Some remaining debts will have to be retired, but that's a job that every executor should be able to tackle.