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Should you take measures to eliminate the need for probate?

When establishing a comprehensive estate plan, you most likely have some questions and concerns regarding the handling of your affairs upon your passing. Minimizing — if not completely avoiding — any contention between surviving family members along with creating as efficient and smooth of a process as possible probably rank toward the top of your goals. Fortunately, there are particular measures you can implement to bring these to fruition someday.

Eliminating the need for probate upon your passing is something you might want to take into consideration. The probate court can validate your will and ensure the appropriate distribution of your assets; however, the process may create issues in certain situations. The proceedings will negate your ability to keep your affairs private since they are a matter of public record. They also can increase the odds of disputes between family members by allowing for challenges to your will. Finally, probate can be a lengthy process, especially for high-net-worth individuals.

Specific steps for avoiding probate

If avoiding the probate process would help minimize the chances of any issues arising with your estate-related affairs, there are potentially several different options at your disposal that can make this a reality. Any of the following could prove beneficial to your cause:

  • Utilizing joint ownership of property: This can allow for certain assets to transfer directly to your spouse or another specified individual in the event of your passing without the need for probate.
  • Taking advantage of payable upon death accounts: Certain financial accounts you have may provide you with this option that allows you to designate a beneficiary to whom the funds will directly transfer in the event of your passing.
  • Establishing a trust: There are particular trust funds that allow you to authorize a trustee who is responsible for distributing your assets in the manner you desire, which will also allow your matters to remain private.
  • Qualifying for expedited proceedings: The state of Pennsylvania offers a simplified probate process for estates that are valued below a certain threshold.

Even though determining the best approach for establishing a comprehensive estate plan based on your unique circumstances may seem somewhat challenging, there is professional support readily available to carefully guide you through every step of this process. An experienced estate planning attorney can address all your questions and concerns, including if eliminating the need for probate is in your best interests, while also helping ensure your legacy will be protected and final wishes will someday be honored.