WHAT IS PROBATE?
When a family member passes away, loved ones are usually left with the difficult task of deciding how to go about transferring or inheriting property. Probate is the court-supervised process during which the court will decide the validity of your will, the personal representative or executor will gather your assets and distribute them according to your will (if there is no will, your assets will be distributed according to intestate succession), and your creditors will get paid. This process can be costly and take between 9 months or more. Good estate planning can minimize expense and delay by transferring assets through other means. At Basar Law, we will help you decide the appropriate plan that will pass your assets to your loved ones in a time efficient and economical manner.
Some of the ways of transferring property without a will are:
- Living trusts- A great way of managing assets and transferring them is through a living trust. You can name yourself or anyone else of your choosing as a trustee. You can transfer your assets that need managing, such as investments, rental property, and bank accounts to your trust. If you become incapacitated, your cotrustee or successor trustee will manage those assets for you and transfer your assets to your beneficiaries at your death without the need of a probate proceeding.
- Life insurance
- Joint tenancy- Property titled as “joint tenants with right of survivorship” passes to the co-owners by operation of law and do not go through probate. There are pitfalls associated with property owned in joint tenancy. We can help you determine if joint tenancy is in your best interest.
- Bank accounts with “pay on death” (POD) designations or “in trust for” designations.
- Retirement accounts, such as IRA and 401(k) accounts.