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Many want to avoid their estate from going through probate court in order to save their heirs money and get assets distributed in a timely manner. Avoiding probate is possible by engaging in estate planning long before the concern can be raised.

There are various ways to do this via trusts and different asset ownership structures that keep the estate out of the probate process. Following are some of the legal ways in which to structure asset ownership and make sure heirs get their gifts from the estate:

  • Revocable living trust. This is an asset structure specifically designed to get around probate. A third party, known as the trustee, becomes the owner of the property placed into the trust, and can transfer the assets to the specified heirs after the passing of the creator of the trust.
  • Joint ownership of assets and property. When purchasing an asset with a title, such as a vehicle or a dwelling, there is an option to place more than one name on it. When one owner passes, the surviving owner has the property transferred to their ownership without having to go through a court process.
  • Pay-on-death accounts, which are primarily bank and retirement accounts, require that the owner fill out a form that names a beneficiary. Upon the passing of the owner of the account, the beneficiary receives the account in its entirety.
  • Gifting property while the owner is still alive serves to reduce the overall value of the estate. When the owner passes and the estate goes to probate, the estate is worth that much less because there are fewer assets included. There is an added benefit in that the IRS does not tax most gifts so the recipient gets the gift tax-free.

For help with estate planning and wills in the Upland area, contact Gaudy Law to arrange a consultation with a lawyer today.

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