Are you concerned with the time and expense often required of probate? Many people look to avoid probate because of these reasons. If you are considering establishing an estate plan that has a goal of avoiding probate in whole or in part, take a moment to review these three common mistakes people make when looking to avoid probate, and some solutions to these problems.
1. Only Having a Will. If you have a well-written will that spells out exactly how you want your assets disposed of after you pass away, it can be a great step in the right direction. A will, however, is still going to go through the probate process. If you want to avoid probate, you should consider establishing something like a revocable trust. When you pass away, the assets will belong to the trust and can be distributed by your trustee outside of probate.
2. Not Properly Structuring a Trust. The solution is a trust, right? This may be true only if the trust is structured properly. If it is, and the assets are put into the trust before you pass, those assets avoid probate. If, however, you set up a “pour-over” trust in which all of your assets at the time of your death are poured into the trust, the will that directs the trust to be created still has to be probated first.
3. Not Putting All Assets into Trust. You have set up a trust. Everything you have is in the trust. It seems ready to go. Then, however, you buy a new car or other vehicle or you decide to downsize from your primary residence. You forget to put the new asset into the trust. When you pass, whatever assets remain outside of the trust will have to go through probate. The solution may not be to just create a “pour-over” will for the reasons explained above. Rather, you may need to be careful throughout your life to ensure all new major assets are purchased by the trust, or placed into the trust after purchase.
Do you want to know more about how to avoid probate with a well-drafted estate plan? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.