How Can I Avoid Probate?
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How Can I Avoid Probate?


[MUSIC] There’s a common misconception that by doing a will you avoid probate, and that is not the case. It’s important to take other measures to avoid probate. The most common method of avoiding probate is to establish a trust. If you come to Fleming & Curti, we evaluate whether you need a will and structuring your assets in a way that avoids probate or a trust, in which we put your assets in trust in order to avoid probate. Alternatives to doing a trust include a beneficiary deed. Arizona law allows you to do a beneficiary deed which is basically a deed that says, “I give my property to my children effective on my death.” A husband and wife can do such a deed. It has to be recorded. And the nice thing about a beneficiary deed is like a will or a trust, it can be changed. Other ways of avoiding probate, for instance on brokerage accounts you can put “Transferrable on Death.” A husband and wife can own the account jointly, but then on death, you name your children or other persons or charities that you want to receive that property effective on your death. Retirement accounts, you name beneficiaries. Life insurance, you name beneficiaries. If you have structured all your assets in a manner where you name beneficiaries then those assets are not subject to probate. Frequently, we see trusts where people have done a great— created a very nice trust, but failed to put their property into the trust, so it ends up going through probate anyway. So it’s very important to look at each asset individually and make sure it’s titled in a way that avoids probate. Fleming & Curti PLC, the leading elder law attorneys in Tucson for over 40 years. Call us today at (520) 622-0400. Or visit us online at Elder-Law.com.

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