Law Office of Rich & RichBankruptcy, Family & Probate LAW
Free Consultation

When You Need
Them Most

Practice Areas
Related Topics

Simple ways to bypass probate

You have probably heard tales about the unpleasant aspects of probate. Perhaps you took the estate of your parents or other loved ones through probate, and you know first hand of the frustration, delay and expense. Like many, you may think that probate, like death and taxes, is just part of life.

While it is true that the average estate will go through probate, especially if there is no estate plan, it is also true that there are a limited number of ways to bypass the process. Taking advantage of any of these options may spare your loved ones at least some of the hassles involved in the probate process.

Trusts are trustworthy options

Perhaps the most commonly known way to bypass probate is to establish a revocable living trust. Using this estate planning tool, you fund your assets to the trust, changing their titles so that the trust becomes the owner instead of you. The trust is revocable, and you are the trustee, so you can change its contents as long as you are able. Once you pass away, or if you become incapacitated, your chosen successor trustee takes over and distributes its contents according to your wishes.

Since legally your estate is not the owner of the assets funded to the trust, those assets do not need to pass through probate with the rest of your estate. Any assets you have not titled over to the trust, however, still must go through the probate court.

Other ways to skip probate

Another plan for avoiding probate is adding beneficiaries' names to your accounts. If you make your bank accounts or investments joint accounts and assign rights of survivorship to the beneficiary named as your joint owner, the contents of the account automatically pass to that beneficiary. You may also do this with real estate deeds. The drawback is that those assets become taxable for those named on the account, and they may also be assets on the table during legal battles, such as lawsuits or divorce.

Of course, if you own life insurance, you must name beneficiaries. Retirement funds, IRAs and others already have beneficiary designations, so they do not go through probate. You can also designate beneficiaries for your bank accounts and other investments. These are known as "payable on death" or "transfer on death" accounts.

The most drastic way to avoid probate is to get rid of everything you own before you die. This is risky and perhaps foolish because it will leave you nothing to live on. If this is your plan, you may consider placing those assets in a trust instead. An attorney can review your circumstances and help you determine the best options for your estate.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact Us

Get The Help You Need Today

We offer free consultations to all new clients, meaning there is no risk and no obligation to learning how we can help. To schedule your confidential appointment, contact the firm online or call us today at 866-935-6740 or 901-201-6163.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Law Office of Rich & Rich
3884 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122

Toll Free: 866-935-6740
Phone: 901-201-6163
Fax: 901-323-0893
Memphis Law Office Map

Review Us
Free Consultation 901-201-6163