Can I Avoid Probate Using a Will or a Trust?

May 01, 2018  

Probate is a tedious legal process that no one wants to go through. Characterized by inventorying a person’s estate, determining the validity of a will, and then paying any debts and distributing the remaining part of the estate amongst beneficiaries through the court, probate can be time consuming, stressful, and expensive. As such, as many people make an estate plan, they wonder whether or not there is anything that can be done to avoid probate, and save their loved ones the hassle. Here’s what you need to know:

A Will Must Pass Through the Probate Process

While having a will may help to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in the manner that you see fit when you are no longer around, regardless of whether you have a will or not, your estate will still need to pass through the probate process. There are many advantages of having a will; avoiding probate is not one of them.

A Trust Can Avoid Probate

While a will must pass through probate, if you hold assets in a trust, this is one way to avoid the probate process. A trust is an agreement between you and a trustee, where you transfer your assets to a trust, which are then managed by the trustee and used per your terms and conditions. When you do this, the assets held in the trust are no longer technically part of your estate, which means that assets in the trust can avoid probate entirely. This is one of the biggest benefits of a trust, and if you don’t already have a trust, you should think about creating one – our estate planning attorneys can help.

Other Ways of Avoiding Probate

There are other assets that will be exempt from the probate process that you should be aware of, including:

  • Assets that are jointly owned (i.e. a home that is in the name of both you and your spouse);
  • Retirement accounts;
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts;
  • Transfer-on-death assets and securities; and
  • Gifting your property prior to death.

Work with an Experienced Estate Planning and Probate Attorney

No matter your age or level of wealth, having an estate plan in place can provide you with peace of mind and comfort; everyone wants to know that their loved ones will be provided for and that their estate will be in good hands when their time comes. At the law offices of Kryszak & Associates, Co., LPA, our Ohio estate planning attorneys can help you to create an estate plan that works for you, and explore options for avoiding the probate process.

To schedule a consultation, please call us at 440-934-5330. We have an office in both Sheffield and Grafton, and can meet at a time that works for you. You can also submit an inquiry online, and we will get back to you shortly.