Losing a dear family member is one of life’s most difficult experiences. When a loved one passes, the last thing family members in Michigan want to think about is how the property and estate of the deceased will be handled. However, if a person dies without a will or any sort of estate plan in place, their estate will likely have to go through probate. Probate is a public court process that can take many months and is often expensive. Here are two ways an estate plan can be created to avoid the probate process.
Own property jointly
Making a spouse or another person a joint owner of property with a right of survivorship is one way to avoid probate. When property is owned jointly in this manner and one owner dies, the property is automatically passed to the surviving owner(s). Some ways to hold property and assets jointly are community property, tenancy by the entirety and joint tenancy with right of survivorship.
A great way to avoid the probate process is with a trust. Trusts avoid probate because the property and assets in a trust technically belong to the trust and are not considered to be a part of the trust owner’s individual estate. A trustee controls the contents of the trust and, upon the trust owner’s death, distributes the contents of the trust under the terms of the trust agreement. Many people prefer living trusts since these types of trusts can be changed or amended at any time.
Help with estate planning
Knowing that loved ones will not have to deal with the lengthy, expensive and public probate process can bring invaluable peace of mind. Those in Michigan who have questions or want to know more about avoiding probate or any aspect of estate planning can get help by contacting a seasoned legal professional. A knowledgeable attorney can answer questions and help clients create a plan to fulfill their needs and wishes.