Have you heard the word probate before? If so, you likely know that this is a legal process that can wind up costing you a lot of money in taxes. Many people will set up their estate plan in ways that prevent it from reaching the probate stages. Today, we will take a look at three ways that can help you avoid probate, which will put more money in the pocket of your beneficiaries when you are gone.
Make sure that all of your property is owned jointly between you and your spouse. This includes all vehicles, boats, land, commercial real estate and your home. If you have a vacation home, make sure both of you are listed as the owners. When there is joint tenancy present, it means that the ownership will automatically pass to your spouse upon your death and avoid probate.
Start gifting property to family members or friends while you are still alive. Be sure that the property does not exceed the limits in place for gift taxes or else you or the recipient will be on the hook for them. You can gift cash, property, vehicles or any other asset you'd like to anyone you like.
Change all of your financial accounts to pay-on-death accounts. This is easily accomplished by filling out the required forms at your bank or with your financial planner. When you make this change, all of the money in the account is sent to your beneficiary without going through probate.
As you can see, it's important to avoid probate if you want your beneficiaries to receive as much money as possible upon your death. If you utilize the three tips outlined in today's post, you should have no trouble avoiding probate in Memphis.