Best Way to Avoid Probate?
What exactly is the best way to avoid probate? There are normally two possible ways to avoid probate.
Piecemeal Approach to Avoiding Probate
The first is a piecemeal approach. It involves naming beneficiaries on every asset you own. Bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, vehicles, real estate, and everything else. If you can do this and maintain those beneficiary designations, probate can be avoided. But if you slip up and fail to name beneficiaries for each asset, probate will often still be required.
The Global Solution to Avoiding Probate
The better global approach is to establish a Family Trust or Living Trust. All that you own can then be placed into the name of the trust. Then, when you pass away, there will be nothing left that “you own” that will go through probate. Everything in the trust can be quickly distributed by your successor trustee to the persons you’ve chosen in the trust.
For a married couple, the use of a Family Trust actually avoids probate twice – once as each spouse passes away. So, the probate savings are doubled.