When a person passes away, their estate is typically subject to probate. Probate is a process that is overseen by the courts and provides a way for an estate to be settled and appropriately distributed in accordance with the instructions of the will.
However, probate is not required in all circumstances. High asset individuals may strive to avoid probate by putting the vast majority of their assets into trusts during their lifetime. Conversely, estates that have a very small amount of valuable assets may also be able to pass outside of probate. The following is an overview of circumstances where probate is not necessary.
Avoiding probate when the estate is small
In Michigan, an estate does not need to go through probate if the value of the gross estate, after funeral and burial costs, is less than $15,000. Alternatively, if the estate is only enough to cover the deceased person’s medical bills and the homestead allowance, it will not need to go through probate.
Probate avoidance strategies
Probate can be lengthy and expensive. This is why many people who are planning their estate try to employ strategies to reduce the assets that will be eligible for probate. Setting up joint accounts can mean that the assets are automatically transferred to the surviving owner when the other passes away. Similarly, it can be possible to select a designated beneficiary for many assets, which means that the asset will not need to go through probate.
If you are planning your estate and you want to learn more about avoiding probate for the benefit of your heirs, you should start by discovering all of the possible options.