While tending to estate planning matters, you learn about the perils of probate. Is the process unavoidable for all your assets?
AARP describes which assets qualify for the process. Know where to focus your energies most in protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones.
Subject to probate
Personal property and other individual assets in your name when you die likely undergo probate. The same applies to real estate you owe with other people who are not your spouse, known as “tenants in common.”
Not subject to probate
Two assets you do not have to worry about going through probate are life insurance policies and annuities with living beneficiaries. Another is trust assets you place in a living trust. If you set up accounts as “transfer on death” or “payment on death,” you do not have to worry about them going to probate court. As long as you have a living beneficiary listed on your investment, retirement or co-owned bank accounts, they do not qualify for probate.
Steps to avoid probate
One of the most effective ways to avoid assets going through probate is to maintain your financial accounts. If you get married, get a divorce or have a child, look over your investments, financial accounts and policies to determine whether to change your named beneficiaries. That way, you better ensure your intended beneficiaries receive their intended assets without delay or unnecessary expense.
You may also consult with professionals familiar with the probate process in Washington. They may offer advice on how to further protect your assets from probate and help you understand your options for sidestepping the legal process.
Take action to safeguard your estate and beneficiaries. Probate does not have to become inevitable.