When an individual dies, his assets often go through the probate court before being distributed to the beneficiaries. Other estates avoid going through probate, which can be a long, drawn out process, Many beneficiaries appreciate not having to go through probate to claim their inheritance.
If an individual dies with a simple will or without a will, most of her assets will go through probate court before being given to a beneficiary. The executor of the estate will go to the probate court with a copy of the will. Then the court will prove the validity of the will and publish its information for the public. The process of probate can take many months to complete depending on the complexity of the estate. If no will is present, the court will appoint an administrator for the estate.
A common ways to avoid probate is with a living trust. You can protect your property from having to go through probate when it is distributed to your beneficiaries. When you set up a trust, the assets held in it do not have to go through probate, which means that your assets will not become public knowledge. This can be a quicker process for your beneficiaries as well.
Another type of asset that does not have to go through probate is property owned with someone else. For example, if you own real estate with your spouse, that property does not have to go through the probate court before it can be placed into the ownership of your spouse. You will be removed from the deed and your spouse will be sole owner of the property.
Payable on Death
Payable on death accounts also do not have to go through the probate process. You can set up a payable on death savings account with a bank and the money will automatically be transferred to the beneficiary of your choice when you die. If you have a retirement account, the money will be transferred in this fashion. When you set up your retirement account, you designate the beneficiary and she will receive the money when you die.