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February 20, 2017

Why You Should Try To Avoid Probate and How To Do So

greenville SC probate law attorney

To understand why you want to avoid probate or at least minimize the impact of this issue on your estate, you need to know what probate is and how it will affect your estate and your loved ones when you pass away. Most estates will go through probate when a person passes away, even if the estate is small. This means that all of your assets will go through a legal process to address taxes and ensure that the correct beneficiaries receive what they are rightfully entitled to receive. The biggest issue here is that the probate process can take a lot of time to complete, so that your loved ones won’t inherit your assets for months or years; plus, the assets can be diminished by the expense of probate.

The Timeline and Expense of the Probate Process

If your estate consists of an interest in real estate (regardless of value) or any other types of assets worth more than $25,000.00 in the aggregate, then it will take more time to get through the probate process. In some cases, it takes years. If your estate does not contain real estate and is worth less than $25,000.00, it will still likely take months to complete. Throughout this time, your loved ones do not have free access to your assets. Then, you have to consider the fact that each step of the probate process involves expenses. Each person involved in the process will charge a fee. The fees become greater as time passes. By the time probate is finished, your assets could be greatly minimized by these expenses, and your loved ones could end up with very little.

Your Estate Plan Could Prevent or Minimize the Issues Associated With Probate

Now that you know why probate is a costly and complicated issue, you’ll want to consider how you can prevent your assets from going through probate or at least minimize the impact of the process. The best thing to do here is to ensure that your estate plan is thorough and achieves the various goals that you want to accomplish. An estate planning or probate attorney in South Carolina can help with this.

When you work with an attorney to address your estate planning needs and avoid or minimize the impact of probate, you will confront the issues of gift taxes, estate taxes, and passing your assets to your beneficiaries with the least complications and minimal time in the probate process. You’ll have to calculate the total value of your estate and take the necessary steps to simplify the process.

Strategies for Keeping Your Assets Out Of Probate For the Benefit Of Your Beneficiaries

There are a few different ways that you can keep your assets out of probate so that your beneficiaries can receive them more quickly and without the associated expense. Depending on your estate, you may be able to avoid probate altogether. In other cases, you might only be able to minimize the impact of probate, but even this is worth attempting if it will in any way benefit your loved ones.

One common strategy for avoiding probate is to set up trust agreements for your beneficiaries. You can set up just one trust agreement or multiple trust agreements which will go directly to your designated beneficiaries when you pass away. Life insurance plans are another strategy, which will ensure that your designated beneficiaries receive the proceeds without having to wait for probate.

Another commonly used strategy for keeping your assets out of probate is to set up bank accounts and other assets with the specification of being transferable on death or payable on death. Again, you establish a beneficiary for the account and arrange for it to be paid or transferred to that beneficiary when you pass away. This ensures that your loved one will directly receive these assets or funds without having to wait for them to go through probate. Setting up joint titles with your loved one is another way to keep certain assets from probate. If you own real estate as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, a vehicle with the word “OR” in between the owner names, then when one owner passes away, the other owner automatically receives the asset.

Contact Anderson Law Firm To Discuss How You Can Avoid Probate In South Carolina

If you are hoping to avoid probate with your estate plan, contact the dedicated Greenville estate planning and probate attorneys at Anderson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss the unique needs of your estate and how to ensure that your beneficiaries are not left struggling without a solid plan in place to provide for their needs, your funeral expenses, and other concerns that may arise from your passing.