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Planning your estate? Use these tips to avoid the probate process

Probate is the process in which a court oversees the distribution of your property after you are deceased. During probate, any of your outstanding debts will be addressed and your assets will be distributed according to your will.

The probate process for your estate is not something that you will have to worry about—after all, you’ll be dead. But because probate can be a lengthy, tedious and costly process, many people wish to spare their family members from the probate process. If you are planning your estate, these are a few things that you can incorporate to circumvent probate.

Revocable living trusts

In a revocable living trust, you are able to retain control of your property until your death. Then, a designated successor trustee transfers the assets in the trust to your beneficiaries. Revocable living trusts have become popular methods of avoiding probate because they allow the grantor to retain control of their property while it remains in the trust.

Joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety

Joint tenancy means that property is legally shared by two people. When one dies, the right of survivorship allows the remaining owner to inherit the property. A similar option that is available to married couples is a tenancy by the entirety. Tenancy by the entirety allows partners to share interest in a property. When one person dies, the other inherits the rest of the interest.

Designated beneficiaries

When you own an account, you can select one a beneficiary to inherit it when you pass away. Many people select children, spouses or relatives as their beneficiaries. The assets in the account remain in your control until your death. Your beneficiary is able to avoid the probate process and inherit the account once you die.

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