Save Your Estate for Your Heirs: Avoid These Probate Issues

Save Your Estate for Your Heirs: Avoid These Probate Issues

All estates must go through the probate process. Probate is the legal process of determining if a will is valid, paying any qualifying debt and estate taxes, and distributing whatever assets remain. It is potentially a very complicated legal process, and an attorney should be involved in any estate planning activities. Using these strategies will help you design your estate to avoid some common challenges of the probate process and save you money: Have a valid will. Probate can last up to a year in many cases; typically this is due to a protracted process of validating the will. Probate is a legal process, so the longer it takes, the more money the attorneys make. Be sure to draw up your will with an attorney and review it annually for anything that needs to be addressed. Avoid having your assets pass through probate. Create one or more trusts. Assets and property within a properly drafted trust avoid the probate process. They are simply transferred to the beneficiaries of the trust. This also has the effect of providing greater protection of the assets from creditors. Name beneficiaries for your 401(k) account. This will allow the account to avoid having to pass through the probate process. Again, this can provide protection from creditors. Name beneficiaries for your IRA. As with the 401(k), naming at least one beneficiary will avoid probate and can shield the assets from creditors. Just call your IRA firm and they can help you out. Name beneficiaries on your life insurance policies. This is the same situation as above. If you don’t name a beneficiary, then the proceeds...

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