Strategic Counsel for Probate Avoidance in Bowling Green

Helping You Help Your Loved Ones Avoid the Probate Process

Probate is the legal process by which a person’s assets are transferred upon their passing, either by last will and testament or through the laws of inheritance. Probate can often be time-consuming, expensive, and require the assistance of legal counsel. Many people may wish to help their loved ones bypass these complex procedures and avoid probate altogether.

At Middleton Law Offices, we counsel our clients on strategies that can help their loved ones avoid the costly, lengthy, and public nature of probate administration. Applying more than 100 years of experience, our firm advises clients on viable alternatives to avoid the cumbersome probate process while still achieving the desired outcome.

Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship

One of the most common legal tools that is used to avoid probate is a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship. Any real or personal property held in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship is considered a non-probate asset. Upon the death of one joint tenant, the asset would automatically pass to the remaining joint tenant(s).

Joint tenancies can include two or more joint tenants — and they can be used to transfer property easily to anyone from a spouse, child, or business partner. This legal construct is simple to create and can be used for nearly any type of property you own, including:

  • Vehicles
  • Real estate
  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks
  • Business ownership

At Middleton Law Offices, our attorneys are experienced in structuring property conveyances to include a right of survivorship. Our attorneys can counsel you on the implications of holding property as joint tenants and help you implement this legal tool into your estate plan to help you satisfy your goals.

Trust-Based Planning

While joint tenancy and POD transfers may be great ways to avoid probate, the lack of per-stirpes stipulations at most financial institutions means that it’s shockingly easy to disinherit children and grandchildren accidentally. Trust-based planning can offer a number of advantages that joint tenancy and POD accounts do not offer. In addition to avoiding probate, a trust can also allow you to have control over the timing of each distribution to a beneficiary — as well as the amount they will receive.

Furthermore, a trust can be altered after drafting with a simple amendment, while any changes to joint tenancy planning or POD accounts must be made with each individual institution. This can increase the likelihood that some beneficiaries will be missed. Our experienced trusts attorneys can discuss the various types of trusts that can be used, depending upon your specific needs.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is an essential legal tool that allows a person to transfer assets to another person now or at a certain time in the future. Not to be confused with a testamentary trust, which only goes into effect upon death, a revocable living trust is also sometimes known as an inter vivos trust. This type of trust allows you to transfer title to real property upon your passing while retaining a life estate — you are free to use the assets in the trust as you wish during your lifetime. Upon your passing, possession of the property will automatically pass to the beneficiary whom you have named in the instrument.

You’ve worked hard to build your legacy and it’s crucial to ensure it is safeguarded. A revocable living trust is a vital tool that can be used to help protect it. The attorneys at Middleton Law Offices will advise you regarding your estate planning options and work with you to develop a thorough probate avoidance strategy that meets your objectives.

Payable on Death Accounts and Transfer on Death Accounts

Under Ohio law, you can add a payable on death designation to a bank account, checking account, or savings account to avoid those assets going through the probate process. Unlike assets that are passed through a will, a payable on death account can provide the named beneficiary with immediate access to the funds and eliminate the need for court involvement. There are typically no limits on the amount of assets that can be passed to a beneficiary when this type of designation is used.

Similar to a payable on death account, a transfer on death registration can be used to pass stocks, bonds, and other securities to your chosen beneficiary. These accounts are easy and economical to set up. A beneficiary would simply be required to show the original account owner’s death certificate and follow the procedures to re-register the account in their name to obtain the securities.

Everyone’s family and financial circumstances are unique. At Middleton Law Offices, we take the time to understand your wishes and will diligently assist you with creating a plan to carry them out. Our attorneys can advise you of the various alternative legal means to transfer property at the time of your passing or prior to death, based on your goals.

Contact an Experienced Probate Avoidance Attorney in Ohio

Avoiding probate can save your loved ones a significant amount of time and stress. At Middleton Law Offices, our attorneys can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that will help your loved ones bypass the probate process. Our attorneys are committed to providing our clients and their families with the time and attention they deserve as we discuss their concerns and counsel them regarding their options. Contact Middleton Law Offices today at 419.548.0196 for a consultation to learn how we can help.