The probate process can be a frustratingly long and expensive process. There are ways you can save your loved ones from going through this after you pass. M&A Law Firm will work with you to design an estate plan that not only meets your unique needs and circumstances, but one that looks to avoid probating your assets. Contact M&A Law Firm today to secure the most beneficial future for your loved ones you can through a dependable estate plan.
How Do You Avoid Probate?
There are several valuable estate planning tools you may put in place to avoid the probate process. This includes:
- Living trust: A living trust is a popular way of protecting your assets from going through probate after you die. Essentially, you transfer ownership of your property from yourself, personally, to yourself as trustee of the trust. The trust document names a successor trustee, a trustee to take over for you upon your death. You can include a wide variety of property and assets in the trust, such as real estate and financial accounts. Upon your death, the successor trustee will transfer the trust assets to the designated beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust and without having to go through probate proceedings.
- Joint ownership: Owning property jointly with another person with “right of survivorship,” will allow the property to pass outside of probate. The surviving owner will automatically receive your ownership interest when you die. Illinois recognizes two forms of joint ownership. Joint tenancy is when property is jointly held, in equal shares, and automatically passes to the surviving owner when another owner passes away. Tenancy by the entirety is when property is held like it is in a joint tenancy, but only married couples or couples that have a civil union may jointly hold property in this way. In the state of Illinois, only real estate is allowed to be held in tenancy by the entirety. Both joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety property will pass outside of probate.
- Payable-on-death accounts: You can add a payable on death designation to financial accounts such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit in Illinois. The beneficiary will have no rights to the account until your death. Upon your death, the beneficiary can go directly to the financial institution where the account is held, and claim the money directly from them. There is no need to go through probate proceedings. Similarly, you may also be able to have a transfer on death registration for things like securities, vehicles, and real estate deeds. All of these assets will transfer directly to the named beneficiary without the need for probate.
Creating Estate Plans to Bring Peace of Mind to You and Your Loved Ones
At M&A Law Firm, PC, we look to the unique needs of every client in designing an estate plan. Each person, each family, has special circumstances that must be taken into account during the estate planning process. Our dedicated estate planning attorneys are also looking to protect your financial interests and those of your beneficiaries by putting things in place that can avoid the often expensive and time consuming process of probate. Contact M&A Law Firm, P.C. today. We proudly serve Cook County and Skokie, Illinois.