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How Can I Avoid the Probate Process?

The probate process can be long and costly, often taking weeks or months to complete. For such reasons, many people will try to avoid the probate process whenever possible. Our Rockford estate planning attorneys explain what you can do to avoid the probate process and leave your potential heirs with fewer inheritance burdens.

The most common method to avoid probate is transferring assets outside of the probate process, saving the estate a lot of time and expense, and helping your loved ones avoid legal hassles. Below we have put together the most common ways to transfer assets to avoid probate:

Joint Property Ownership

A common way to avoid probate is with joint property ownership. Jointly owned property with the right of survivorship helps you avoid probate because the deceased joint owner will no longer own the property when it passes to the living joint owner.

To create joint property ownership, you will need to create a written document that sets out the terms and the right of survivorship.

Revocable Living Trusts

Creating a living trust is another popular way to avoid probate. The living owner (which is typically also the trustee) would transfer the property’s title to a trust. They would continue to manage and have control over the estate until their death. Then the successor trustee would transfer the property to the beneficiaries named in the trust.

Death Beneficiaries

In Illinois, you can add a “payable-on-death” (POD) designation to bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and even vehicles. You still control all the money in the account and your POD beneficiary would have no right to the money, stocks, or assets until your death.

Once you pass away, the beneficiary can claim the assets without probate proceedings.

The most helpful tip to avoiding probate is to have an experienced attorney on your side. Contact our Rockford lawyers today at (800) 639-1488 to schedule a case review!