The probate process basically determines the validity of a will, takes stock of all assets, and transfers these to beneficiaries once all debts and taxes are paid off. The entire process could be very time-consuming, costly, and often, unnecessary. In Washington, you could avoid the probate process with the following options:
If you own joint property with right of survivorship, that property would pass to your surviving co-owners upon your passing and the property transfer won’t have to go through probate.
Revocable Living Trust
All assets held in a living trust won’t have to go through the probate process. You could put almost all kinds of assets in a revocable living trust, while you continue to use and control the assets held in the trust, note the experts at feldmanlee.com. Such a setup only becomes irrevocable when you die and would then be handled by the successor trustee you appointed. A living trust could likewise help offer asset management and legal protections for your surviving children and/or spouse.
You could utilize this deed for transferring real estate to your beneficiaries upon your death, without probate. You could modify this deed at any time.
Transfer-on-Death and Payable Designations
You could use either transfer-on-death designations or TOD or payable-on-death designations or POD for transferring rights to your bank accounts, bonds, or stocks when you pass away.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
This could be used for transferring your life insurance ownership. Basically, it would keep your insurance policy’s proceeds from going through probate. However, do take note that it comes with specific restrictions.
Community Property Agreement
You could make a community property agreement with your spouse to keep your assets from going through probate.
Small Estate Exemptions
Your inheritors could opt for this affidavit procedure if your estate doesn’t include real property and is less than $100,000.
Probate could really take a long time and take a toll on your beneficiaries’ finances. It also comes with complex rules and processes. Fortunately, you could avoid it altogether by planning. Speak with an experienced lawyer to find out which option is best for you.