Tips on Avoiding Probate
Probate is a lengthy, stressful process, and many people assume they’ll have to deal with the probate process. However, there are ways to avoid probate, especially when you have a probate attorney on your side.
Akers Law Premiere Probate Litigation has experience navigating probate and preparing your will and other affairs. By making adequate preparations, your loved ones may be able to avoid probate. Akers Law can help you do that by keeping you informed of the probate process and what it entails.
If you want to avoid probate, use these tips. They will not only make it more likely for your family to avoid probate, but also make asset distribution and other matters of your estate more efficient.
Create a Living Trust
A living trust is different from a will. With a living trust, you can transfer almost any major asset to a successor trustee after your death. Once you name yourself the trustee of the trust, you can name a successor trustee to take over the designated affairs after your death, thereby avoiding probate for those assets.
There are two common types of living trusts in Colorado, revocable and irrevocable trusts. Irrevocable trusts cannot be modified once you create them. Revocable trusts have more flexibility, and you can remove your property if you need to. Akers Law can help you determine which type of trust works best for you.
Right of Survivorship
The right of survivorship applies when joint property is involved. For example, if you and your spouse own a home together, you would designate a right of survivorship for those shared assets to transfer to your spouse.
A right of survivorship allows your loved ones to avoid probate by determining early on that any joint assets are automatically the responsibility of your living spouse. In Colorado, the right of survivorship is also called joint tenancy, and it can help you avoid probate for assets like a home, car, bank account, or other significant items.
You should always make sure you designate beneficiaries, especially for significant assets. That can mean bank accounts—especially if you have multiple accounts—or stocks, as well as physical assets like a vehicle.
If you don’t designate beneficiaries, that can create a lengthy probate process when there is less certainty regarding who should inherit which assets. Depending on the type of account, you may be able to designate assets to be payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD).
With a payable-on-death account, you can designate a beneficiary to inherit the money in the account. If you have multiple accounts, you must name your beneficiaries for each one.
PODs apply mainly to bank accounts, though you can also use them to determine a beneficiary for a certificate of deposit (CD).
Transfer-on-death (TOD) designations work a little differently than PODs. These designations apply more to physical assets and estate items as opposed to accounts. Usually, you’ll see TODs for assets like:
- Real estate
- Stocks and bonds
Once you designate your beneficiary, ownership of these items will pass to the beneficiary after your death. Inheritance in these cases is automatic—meaning there is no need for probate—as the decedent designates beneficiaries before their death.
How Can a Probate Attorney Help?
A probate attorney can simplify any of these processes for you. Probate lawyers like those at Akers Law in Colorado Springs know probate law inside and out, and we make sure you’re as prepared as possible when it comes to avoiding probate.
A probate lawyer can also ensure you don’t miss anything. We can help you determine what type of living trust works best for your situation and guide you so you can avoid probate. Probate can be an exhausting and frustrating process, and a probate attorney is your best resource when it comes to avoiding it.
If you do everything right and your estate still must go through probate, a probate lawyer at Akers Law will make the process more efficient. A probate attorney can also help you determine the best course of action for certain assets and how to designate beneficiaries, like when you create a living trust.
Contact Akers Law
Akers Law is your best Colorado Springs probate resource when you need a probate attorney. We handle your estate with care and do everything possible to ensure you designate your assets properly. We’re committed to serving you with expertise, compassion, and dedication you can’t find anywhere else in the area.
Tammy W. Akers has decades of experience practicing law, making Akers Law your ideal resource for creating wills, living trusts, and designating beneficiaries. Contact us today at 719-323-6421 to find out how we can help you avoid probate.