Probate is a procedure that occurs when a court is put in charge of the distribution of someone’s property upon their death. The first step is usually to ensure that all debts are paid, and then the court will attempt to transfer any remaining property to the deceased person’s family or other survivors. While that sounds simple enough, probate can go on for months or even a couple of years, and subject the survivors to a lengthy ordeal. If you’d like to ensure that your estate is settled in a timely fashion upon your death, here are some things you can do.
Hire a Probate Attorney While Still Alive to Take a Look at Your Estate
A deceased person’s property sometimes goes into probate if there was no clear will left behind or if there is a dispute among the survivors. A skilled probate attorney would be able to look at all of your property and help you craft a number of documents that should help expedite the process of giving away all of your stuff upon your death.
Take Advantage of Transfer on Death Provisions
Even if you don’t have a specific will, you are allowed in some states to set up a transfer on death beneficiary for certain assets. For example, you can transfer your entire stock portfolio to a loved one upon death, or designate a specific motor vehicle for someone. The same is true for real estate. Again, different states have different requirements, which is why you will want to consult with an attorney who is skilled in dealing with end-of-life affairs.
Give It All Away While You’re Still Here
If you really don’t want there to be any controversy surrounding a will or other similar documents upon your death, make it a point to give away as much of your property as you are comfortable with while you are still alive. The downside to this is that if you live longer than expected, you will be without the comforts the property in question provided. Giving away a large amount of property while still alive may also trigger a federal gift tax. It’s best to sit down with an attorney a skilled probate attorney to decide which property should be given away now and which can be handled after you are gone.
Probate can be a lengthy process that puts a lot of stress on your loved ones, who will likely already be reeling from your death. If you want to help control the situation, even from the grave, make it a point to talk with a probate attorney, like those at Flaccus Law, while you are still alive so that you can set up specific guidelines on how things should go down once you pass.