The Probate process is a slow, tedious, and at times, expensive and potentially contentious process, at least when compared to other options.
Many people believe that if they have a Will, they can avoid probate. However, a Will simply memorializes an individual’s desire as to how his or her assets are distributed after death. When using a Will, those desires can only be realized using the probate process.
Thankfully, there are actions you can take during your life so that the distribution of your assets avoid the probate process. Here are 5 ways to avoid probate in Michigan:
- Make sure your assets have named beneficiaries. If you have a life insurance policy, investments, bank or credit union account(s) or an IRA, make sure there is a named beneficiary;
- Create a Trust (revocable trust or irrevocable trust). Once you create a trust, you fund the trust by conveying your assets to the trust. Administration of a trust does not require the probate process.
- Create a Lady Bird Deed for your real estate.
- Add joint ownership to your assets. Doing so can limit your options with respect to your own assets, so this must be carefully considered.
- Gift assets away (speak to an accountant or lawyer first).
These are 5 effective ways to avoid the probate process; however, because there are consequences to each method, it is prudent to consult with a Kreis Enderle estate planning attorney. I would be more than happy to discuss available options with you.