If you do not properly estate plan, your loved ones may end up going through the lengthy process of probate. Probate is the court process that determines who your estate will go to once you have passed. Probate can take a long time if you have not estate planned properly. As your loved ones are dealing with your loss, they don’t want to get caught up in court with a drawn-out probate process. In order to avoid this, there are five easy ways to avoid probate in Georgia.
Hold Property Jointly
It is possible to have the right of survivorship pass down directly to someone you jointly hold property with. Here are the three main ways that you can jointly hold property:
- Joint tenancy: the owners of a property, in this case, are called “joint tenants” and this is possible to have the right of survivorship pass to the other person once the other owner passes.
- Entirety tenancy: just like joint tenancy, but this kind of ownership is only available to those who are married to each other.
- Community property: not every state has community property laws, but in some states, spouses can jointly hold property.
Choosing Beneficiary Designations
When choosing life insurance or retirement accounts, such as annuities, IRAs, and 401(k)s, keep in mind that each one has designated beneficiaries within those documents. Picking a beneficiary means picking someone to have those funds directly pass to without having to go through probate first.
Transfer-On-Death and Pay-On-Death Accounts
On top of being able to designate a beneficiary for your bank account, you may also name a beneficiary on your pay-by-death aka POD account. In addition, you can designate a beneficiary for your investment account – this is done through a transfer-on-death account.
A Revocable Living Trust
You can successfully avoid probate by creating a living trust. A living trust allows the person who is writing the trust may fund the trust by putting any assets they want to. This is the easiest way to assure that an expensive probate court process is not needed. It allows the person to retain control over the trust’s property until they’ve passed.
Give Property Away To Loved Ones
By giving away ownership of an asset while you are alive, that property won’t be part of the probate. This means giving away property before you’ve passed on ensuring the property wouldn’t be a part of probate as it was not part of a will or trust.
At Smith Barid, we know the importance of estate planning and what needs to be done in order to avoid probate when you pass. Smith Barid are experts in all types of trust plans and are here to guide you through all you need to know about naming a beneficiary to your estate. If you’re in Georgia and need help with your estate planning, get in touch today.