How to Avoid Probate
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How to Avoid Probate

A common misconception is that wills
avoid probate, after all the will states who you want to get your assets and who
is to administer the estate. But wills do not avoid probate. Even though the will names an executor and lists beneficiaries the assets held in the decedent’s name at
the time of death must still pass through the probate process to transfer
title to the beneficiaries named in the will. A valid Will gets admitted to probate
and becomes the courts roadmap for directing where the assets are to go. In
Nevada, the probate process can be long, with a full probate administration
lasting six months and that’s if there are no problems. If there’s a will
contest it can take years. And it is expensive, costing seven to eight
thousand dollars on the low end to tens of thousands of dollars on the high end.
Not to mention the aggravation. Because of the time and cost and the general headache factor people want to avoid probate. Some assets, by their nature, do
not pass through probate. For example, assets with beneficiaries listed, like:
life insurance. Beneficiaries are listed so when the insured dies, insurance
proceeds are paid directly to the beneficiary with no probate. However, life
insurance proceeds can become part of the probate estate if there are no
living beneficiaries listed. Also, bank accounts or brokerage accounts can have POD designations. This is a pay on death account, sometimes referred to as an
ITF, or “in trust for” account. Again a beneficiary is named and the account is
paid directly to the person named as the beneficiary when the account holder dies.
Real estate is commonly held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. When
one of the joint owners dies, the property passes to the surviving joint
tenant. Now this does not really avoid probate,
but rather simply delays it until the surviving joint tenant dies. In Nevada
there is a special type of real property deed Called a transfer on death deed. This special type of deed lists a beneficiary much like an insurance policy or POD
account. Upon the property owner’s death, the property passes directly to the
person named without probate. Perhaps one of the most common methods for avoiding probate involves placing assets in a living trust, which is a very flexible
estate planning tool that allows you, when done properly, to pass your estate to the beneficiaries you name in the trust. If you love your family and want to
avoid the costs and headaches of probate for them, call our office today for a free initial
estate planning consultation and we’ll show you how to avoid probate in the
easiest way possible.

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