Your Family Matters

3 estate planning options to help loved ones avoid probate

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2021 | Firm News

If you are a parent drawing ever closer to your fifties with parents finalizing their last will and testament, you might have found yourself recently considering what arrangements you need to make to prepare for your own eventual passing. Perhaps you wish to spare your offspring from a long, pricy probate process but are unsure how to accomplish this.

Even simple wills may take around six months to process. Vast, complex estates may take even longer. There do exist ways of avoiding the hassle of court.

1. Joint ownership

One option is owning a piece of property with the person(s) you want to inherit it after you are gone. As long as said shared proprietorship includes “right of survivorship,” the other party automatically retains possession after your decease without going through probate. Illinois allows two kinds of joint ownership, joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety. Each has its own limits and downsides.

2. Living trusts

You may place virtually any asset in one of these. In order to do so, you need to create a trust document and name a trustee to succeed you who is responsible for transferring the property to the beneficiaries after your death.

3. Transfer-on-death designations

You may register vehicles, real estate and securities like stocks and bonds as transfer-on-death. For the first, you need to be the sole owner and cannot list more than one inheritor. Also, you must not have an active unpaid loan on any automobile listed this way. You may also designate bank accounts as payable-on-death, allowing your heir to claim funds directly from the financial institution holding them once you are gone.

It is important to arrange your final affairs early. Doing so helps you care for your loved ones even after you have left the earth.