April 21, 2014 by generationsprobate
Experienced Sacramento probate attorneys know how complicated and expensive probate court procedures can be. When it comes to strategic estate planning, avoiding probate (or minimizing the assets involved in probate) enables fair and speedy estate distribution. To preserve your assets from probate fees and conflict settlements, here are four things to keep in mind:
Be generous with gifts.
Distribute your wealth while you are still alive in order to officially place assets under your chosen beneficiary’s name and to minimize federal estate taxes. Probates will no longer be held for these gifts since the properties are officially owned by another person.
Remember that two heads are better than one.
Share ownership of a business or other assets with a legally recognized partner. Probate is avoided in most types of joint ownership, such as joint tenancy with the right of ownership and tenancy by entirety for married couples or domestic partners in some states.
Put your trust in revocable trusts.
You can use revocable trusts to avoid the publicity and expensive costs of probate altogether. Here, you assign a successor trustee to distribute your assets to your specified beneficiaries without the involvement of a probate court.
Account for possible conversions into pay-on-death accounts.
Convert your bank accounts and retirement money into accounts that are payable-on-death to your specified beneficiary. Your bank will only honor the rights of that beneficiary over your account once proof of your death, proof of the beneficiary’s identity, and other documents are formally presented.