Without estate planning, probate can cause delays and stresses for heirs. As a person prepares end-of-life paperwork such as an advance directive or will, they should try to avoid probate. Before discussing probate avoidance measures, clients should learn more about the processes of probate and Estate Planning in Reno NV.
What is Probate?
Probate is the court-sanctioned process of settling a deceased person’s estate and distributing assets to heirs. Having a will does not keep an estate out of probate. Rather, the court receives the document and chooses a representative to gather assets and pay final debts before distributing the remainder to the person’s heirs.
Why Should Probate be Avoided?
Because it can be time-consuming and costly to gather assets and pay debts, it can delay the distribution of the remaining assets. In the worst-case scenario, probate can last years and consume a significant portion of the assets meant for heirs. A probate attorney can advise clients on how to have assets pass to heirs without getting the courts involved.
Avoid Probate With Joint Ownership
Jointly held property with survivorship rights is given to the surviving joint owner. There are three ways to hold property with someone.
* Joint tenancy with survivorship rights
* Tenancy by entirety, which is only available to spouses
* Community property laws
Retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s have designated beneficiaries. Here, the funds are passed directly to that person without the need for the lengthy probate process.
POD and TOD Accounts
Some jurisdictions allow people to select a beneficiary for an account, which is called a POD. A client may be able to choose a beneficiary for an investment account through a TOD, or transfer on death arrangement.
Giving Away Assets
If a person passes ownership of assets to someone else while they are still alive, the asset cannot be included in an estate or in the probate process. Consult a lawyer about giving away assets as a way to avoid probate while avoiding expensive gift taxes.
As can be seen, probate avoidance and Estate Planning in Reno NV does not have to be complicated. In many cases, the simple transfer of assets can keep things out of probate court. When they Visit the Site and take certain steps now, clients and their families can save time, frustration, and money.
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