Can Probate Be Avoided?

Probate is the court process by which a will is deemed valid and the assets are distributed according to the terms of the will. If a person dies without a will, an estate must go through probate in order to identify heirs and ensure the proper distribution of assets. This process can be lengthy, complex and expensive. However, there are steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition and, in some cases, avoid probate altogether.

At the El Cajon law office of Thomas F. Miles, Attorney and Counselor at Law, we have more than 37 years of experience representing individuals throughout San Diego County and the surrounding communities. Our lawyer can help identify the estate planning tools that are right for you in an effort to ensure that your wishes are carried out with a minimal amount of hassle.

Tools To Minimize Or Avoid The Probate Process

Establishing a will can make the probate process easier. However, a will alone is not enough to avoid having an estate pass through probate. The good news is a will combined with other estate planning tools may help an estate avoid probate entirely. Some options include:

Living trusts: A living trust enables you to pass your assets onto another with one stipulation — namely the assets that are placed into a trust may only be used according to your terms. This allows you to insert a clause that demands the person named in the living trust distribute your assets according to your wishes after your death.

Joint property ownership: This is as straightforward as it sounds. Any property that you own jointly with another person will pass onto that person following your death. However, you must ensure that the proper paperwork is filed which details the property that is jointly owned and your relationship with the other party.

Gifting assets: Giving away your assets and property in the form of a gift is a simple, effective means of avoiding probate. However, if the value of the gifts exceeds a certain amount, they may be subject to a significant tax hit.

These are just a few of the tools that can be used to help avoid probate. We can thoroughly review your situation, identify your goals and create a comprehensive estate plan which is tailored to ensure that your wishes are carried out as you see fit.

Contact An Estate Planning Attorney Serving La Mesa And Surrounding Areas

It is never too early to begin putting together a proper estate plan. We are available to help. To arrange a free initial consultation, call us at 619-631-4833 or 866-471-0416. You may also contact us online. We are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and evenings and weekends by appointment.

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