Easy Ways to Help Your Family Avoid Probate
One of the biggest complications for any family going through a loss is dealing with Probate Court. This massive, tricky financial drain can quickly become the bane of any family. Fortunately, there are a few quick, easy, and free ways to keep some assets out of the courts and with your family.
Have Beneficiaries Listed on Bank Accounts:
In Ohio, an individual may have someone else listed on their bank accounts as either a Joint Owner or Beneficiary. A Joint Owner is someone who has full access to the account at all times. This type of listing is ideal if an individual needs the occasional bit of help with household accounting tasks, such as paying bills or shopping. However, a Beneficiary has access to the funds in the account only after the passing of the owner. While many institutions handle beneficiary disbursements differently, a joint owner would immediately take over the account, completely bypassing the need for probate.
It should be noted that both of these are distinct from being the Power of Attorney. POA ends upon the passing of the individual, and would do nothing for obtaining or transferring funds on death. This is a common point of confusion,
Pass Keepsakes On As You No Longer Use Them:
As people start to consider Long Term Care, it’s incredibly common to cut down on personal possessions. If you can, and feel comfortable, take this opportunity to pass on specific gifts to family members you would like to have them.
Pay Off As Much Debt as Possible:
One of the biggest probate anchors is debt. One of the first things done in instances of probate is the payment of debt from the estate. Very little debt wo. Making sure that you have your bills paid off, you know what debt will pass with you, and keep which of your bills remain unpaid organized is a key way to making the lives of those you leave behind easy.
Work with a Professional:
The easiest, most assured way to make sure your family stays out of court as much as possible is to work with an attorney to prepare your estate. Many people do attempt to blaze their own trail on their estate, resulting in easily avoided mistakes. Not every estate can avoid probate court, however with the help of an attorney you stand the best chance.
Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney