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Can I Avoid Probate Using a Will or a Trust?

Can I Avoid Probate Using a Will or a Trust?

Can I Avoid Probate Using a Will or a Trust?
December 20, 2023

Estate Planning

Probate is a tedious legal process that no one wants to go through. Characterized by inventorying a person’s estate, determining the validity of a will, paying any debts, and distributing the remaining estate amongst beneficiaries through the court, probate can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. As such, many people wonder whether or not there is anything that can be done to avoid probate and save their loved ones the hassle. While each situation is unique, there are some estate planning steps you can take to potentially help ease the burden of probate. Here’s what you need to know:

A Will Must Pass Through the Probate Process

Having a will may help to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in the manner that you see fit when you are no longer around. However, regardless of whether you have a will or not, your estate will still need to pass through the probate process. There are many advantages of having a will, but avoiding probate is not one of them.

A Trust Can Avoid Probate

While a will must pass through probate, if you hold assets in a trust, this is one way to avoid the probate process. A trust is an agreement between you and a trustee, where you transfer your assets to a trust, which are then managed by the trustee and used per your terms and conditions. When you do this, the assets held in the trust are no longer technically part of your estate, which means that assets in the trust can avoid probate entirely. This is one of the biggest benefits of a trust, and if you don’t already have a trust, you should think about creating one – our estate planning attorneys can help.

Other Ways of Avoiding Probate

There are other assets that will be exempt from the probate process that you should be aware of, including:

  • Assets that are jointly owned (i.e., a home that is in the name of both you and your spouse);
  • Retirement accounts;
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts;
  • Transfer-on-death assets and securities; and
  • Gifting your property prior to death. 

Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that tools like trusts are only meant for the wealthy. The reality is that these legal resources can benefit you in many ways, including keeping certain assets out of probate. 

No matter your age or level of wealth, having an estate plan in place can provide you with peace of mind and comfort. Everyone wants to know that their loved ones will be provided for and that their estate will be in good hands when their time comes. At the law offices of Gertz & Rosen, our Ohio estate planning attorneys can help you create an estate plan that works for you and explore options for avoiding the probate process. 

To schedule a consultation, please call our office or submit an inquiry online, and we will get back to you shortly. We look forward to working together.

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