What Are Strategies for Avoiding Probate?

Paul Rossi Law
What Are Strategies for Avoiding Probate?
What Are Strategies for Avoiding Probate?

Posted on

January 17
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What Are Strategies for Avoiding Probate?

Estate planning is an important step individuals should take in order to prepare for the future. One of the biggest advantages of creating an estate plan is avoiding probate, which can be a costly and time-consuming process. Our attorneys at the Law Office of Paul A. Rossi, LLC, are ready to help you build an effective estate plan that preserves your assets and ensures they reach your intended beneficiaries. Call today to set up a consultation with our attorneys in Lowell. 

Understanding Probate and its Drawbacks

Probate involves a court overseeing the distribution of your assets after your death. It can be time-consuming and expensive, with costs often being paid by the heirs and in some instances, being deducted from the estate’s value, thereby reducing what your heirs receive. This is why avoiding probate, when possible, becomes an essential part of estate planning.

Small Estates and Probate

In Indiana, small estates worth under $100,000, plus funeral expenses and administration costs, can avoid probate entirely. The personal representative of these estates can distribute assets directly to the inheritors. Upon completion, they may be required to record an affidavit or required to file a statement with the court to close the estate.

For larger estates worth over $100,000, detailed planning is crucial. An experienced attorney can guide you through various strategies to keep as much of your estate out of probate as possible.

Living Trusts

Living trusts are among the most effective ways to avoid probate. Establishing a living trust allows you to manage designated assets for named beneficiaries during your lifetime. Upon your death, a successor trustee distributes assets to beneficiaries without needing probate court proceedings.

Joint Ownership

Joint ownership with a right of survivorship is another strategy. This arrangement allows property to automatically pass to your co-owner upon your death. Married couples can hold real estate as “tenants by the entirety,” which includes the right of survivorship.

Additional Strategies to Avoid Probate

Beyond living trusts and joint ownership, Indiana law provides other methods to avoid probate:

  • Payable-on-death (POD) designations: Adding a POD designation to a bank account or certificate of deposit allows the designated person to receive funds upon your death.
  • Insurance policies: A life insurance policy pays benefits directly to your beneficiary, bypassing probate.
  • Transfer-on-death deeds: These deeds allow assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, and vehicles to be transferred to a person of your choice without going through probate.
  • Heirship Affidavits: These affidavits allow assets to pass on to your heirs without probate.

Even with these strategies in place, it’s advisable to have a will to account for any property not covered by these methods.

Plan Ahead with The Law Office of Paul A. Rossi, LLC

Avoiding probate is a key goal of effective estate planning. It preserves your assets’ value and ensures they are distributed according to your wishes without the lengthy and costly probate process. By implementing strategies like living trusts, joint ownership, and other methods such as Payable-on-death designations, insurance policies, Transfer-on-death deeds, and Heirship Affidavits, you can make this goal a reality.

The Law Office of Paul A. Rossi, LLC is committed to providing compassionate, knowledgeable guidance during this crucial planning process. When everything is on the line, you can count on us to advocate for your interests and help build an effective estate plan that meets your needs.

For further advice and assistance on probate-related matters, contact us for a consultation at our law office in Lowell.

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