5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Probate: Part 2
Yesterday, we discussed the first three things you can do to avoid probate: (1) gifts, (2) use beneficiaries on retirement accounts, certificates of deposit and other investments, and (3) work with your bank to find ways to add beneficiaries to your bank accounts or create joint accounts. Today we will talk about joint tenancy with a right of survivorship and revocable living trusts.
For property that is titled such as your car or real estate you can look into owning your property as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” The rights of survivorship mean that the property will not pass by an owner’s will, but it will pass to the surviving members of the owners and eventually the last living person from the original group of survivorship owners will be the sole owner. Many married couples choose to own property in this manner so upon the death of the first spouse, the second spouse automatically owns the entire property.
The final way you can start to avoid probate is to use a revocable living trust. Before you go this route, I would encourage you to consult with a lawyer. I bring this up last because it is usually the first thing people are encouraged to do even though it isn’t right or necessary for everyone. A trust can be complicated and certainly to be effective you will have to incur substantial cost in the preparation of the trust and to prepare the deeds and other paperwork necessary to transfer title from you and your spouse into the trustee.