Before you can determine if probate in Seattle Washington can be avoided, you have to understand what this process entails. Generally speaking, probate is the process of settling a deceased person’s affairs (both financially and personally).
While there is a lot of good that can come from this process, such as ensuring that your loved one’s assets end up in the right hands, it can also be stressful. Having property tied up in probate can also be expensive and extremely time consuming.
Now that you understand what probate in Seattle Washington is and why you should want to avoid it, it is time to answer another very important question: which steps can you take to avoid the probate process?
Here are three ways to avoid or speed up this process:
1. Create a living trust. This is by far the easiest way to avoid probate. A living trust is nothing more than an alternative to a last will. However, there is one big difference: a will distributes assets upon your death. A living trust, on the other hand, places all assets “in trust” which is then managed by a trustee. Since all assets are already put into the trust, there is no need for the probate process.
2. Add beneficiaries to bank and retirement accounts. This sounds like a no-brainer, but entirely too many people overlook the importance of doing so.
It is easy to forget that some of your most valuable assets, such as your bank and retirement accounts, should have a beneficiary attached to them.
If you have yet to do this, call your bank and retirement account administrator to learn more about the process of naming a beneficiary.
3. Consider joint tenancy with a right of survivorship. This can help keep real estate out of probate if set up correctly. If you and a partner are purchasing a home or already own a house, joint ownership allows the property to pass to the other person without the probate process. Your marital status does not matter as long as the home is designated as jointly held.
As you continue to explore the question of whether or not probate in Seattle Washington can be avoided, while also looking into the three strategies above, you are likely to have concerns. By hiring an attorney, you will have somebody on your side who can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you create a plan that will allow your loved ones to avoid probate.