Probate Avoidance Techniques
Looking to avoid probate in Dedham?
Probate is the process whereby a will is proven to be valid and an executor or administrator is appointed by the court to settle the decedent’s estate. Unfortunately, due to the limited court resources and increased pressure from family matters, the opening of probate can take a long time and can vary significantly from county to county. While many view the protections against fraud and mismanagement as an attractive lure to the probate process, nowadays the increasing delay and expense is perceived by many as a penalty for failing to plan one’s estate.
Given the complex formalities and delay associated with probate, many people are interested in non-probate transfers. While making a will was once the main focus of estate planning, more and more people are focusing on arranging their assets in such a manner where they will avoid probate. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recommends probate procedures that simplify, expedite and reduce the costs of settling estates in probate, thus, if avoiding probate is important to you, we can explain the various legal methods that will allow you to accomplish this goal.
In Massachusetts and in all states, one of the most effective methods of avoiding probate is to establish a revocable living trust. By creating a revocable living trust, you can avoid probate for virtually any asset that you own and this includes real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles and so on. With the assistance of an attorney, you would create the trust document and name a successor trustee to take over after your death. Then, and this is crucial, you would transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee of the trust. Once you have properly funded the trust, the trust assets will be controlled according to the terms of the trust. When you pass away, your successor trustee will be able to manage the trust assets and transfer them to your beneficiaries without the need for probate proceedings.
Other ways to transfer assets outside of probate include joint ownership of property, using payable-on-death designations for bank accounts, transfer-on-death registration for securities, making gifts, and lastly, simplified probate proceedings.
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You may be wondering, “Is probate necessary anymore?” With living trusts, beneficiary designations, and joint accounts, it is becoming less and less so. However, there is no “one size fits all approach” to estate planning and what might work great for your neighbor or your colleague may not work for you.
We encourage you to contact a Dedham estate planning attorney from the Law Office of Fredrick N. Pellegrini to determine which estate planning tools would be the most suitable for your circumstances.
Just a few reasons why we’re qualified to assist you include:
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