Sinclair Prosser”How to Avoid the Probate Process” by Attorney Victor A. Lembo
In going through the probate process, personal representatives have important responsibilities in winding up the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can offer assistance with all aspects of going through probate, from complying with various tax laws, to transferring property to new legal owners, and advice on handling a Will contest.
Unfortunately, the probate process is a long process and it can be expensive, even with the very best legal help assistance. The process usually takes a year — and sometimes much longer if the estate is complicated. An estate may be reduced substantially when the goal is to leave a legacy for loved ones. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help you to explore different legal tools that you can use to avoid the probate process, including the following tools that may be right for you.
First, trusts are a very powerful legal tool that allow you to protect your assets in many different ways. One way a trust can protect your wealth is to allow money and property to transfer outside of the probate process. You can create a trust and fund it with assets, and the assets that are held within the trust can pass through the trust administration process. Therefore, it is outside of the court process and managed by a trustee. It is more private, less costly, and quicker than the probate process.
Second, joint ownership means that you and someone else own property or assets together. For example, you could have joint bank accounts with a spouse, child, or friend. Also, you could jointly own a home with someone. It is important to realize that not all forms of joint ownership will allow you to transfer property automatically to the co-owner, which may mean probate, and there are liability and tax issues to consider.
Third, payable-on-death accounts allow for assets to transfer automatically to a designated beneficiary when you have passed away. However, there are various issues that arise with these types of accounts, and therefore, naming a trust as the beneficiary is a very valuable tool.
These are just a few of the different legal tools that could potentially help your assets to transfer more quickly and outside of the probate process. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help you to determine what makes the most sense for your estate in order to transfer the maximum value of wealth outside of probate and provide peace of mind.
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