Keep Your Family Out Of Probate With These Three Tips

Posted on: 13 October 2015


Planning for your family's future is a responsible thing to do, but it can be easy to make mistakes that land your family in probate court after you pass away. Here are just some of the things you can do to keep your family away from a probate court in the future.

Enter Into Joint Ownerships

You may own property or part of a business and assume that when you die, those things will go to the right person. However, it is important that you not assume everyone will act fairly. For instance, your business partner might try to absorb your portion of the business, even if you want your spouse to inherit your interests there.

For that reason, it is vital that you think about entering into joint ownership agreements with those you want to have certain things after you pass away. That way, in the future, there is no need to go to probate court; they will already own the property or business portion.

Change The Status Of Your Retirement Documents

Your retirement documents might be in your name right now because you expect to live into your retirement. However, if you don't make sure that those documents are "payable on death" to a specific beneficiary and you die before you retire, your family may end up having to go into probate court to determine who is entitled to that money.

To avoid this problem, make sure all your retirement accounts "pay on death" to the people you want the money to go to. Because there will be no question about who gets the money, probate court can be avoided and your beneficiaries will be awarded those funds automatically.

Make Changes To Your Estate Planning Documents As Needed

As time goes on, you may forget about your estate planning documents, particularly if you think you've completed them fully. However, family events, new relationships and other issues may change your list of beneficiaries. To make sure there are no probate issues, check out your estate planning documents every so often to ensure that your assets are still going to the people you want them to go to.

Keep the tips above in mind so that you can make sure that your family avoids a probate problem after your death. It is also a good idea to enlist the help of an experienced probate lawyer who can provide you and your family with any guidance that you need. One professional who may be able to help you is David R Webb Attorney.