One of the first things people ask about when someone passes away is: “What happens to the car and house?” Unfortunately, many people find their loved one’s belongings go into probate as proper provisions weren’t made while they were living. Luckily, there are easy ways to avoid this from happening. Read on to learn how to avoid probate with your house or car.
There are three, and only three, ways to avoid probate: joint title, beneficiary deed, or living trust. Joint title should be avoided for many reasons, two of which are 1) you expose your assets to another person’s problems and 2) there are other options.
You can avoid the probate process for your home by placing the title in a living trust. A living trust is simple: the title to an asset gets placed in it, so the trust owns that asset. This allows your loved ones to access the home rather than waiting months (or even years) for the home to get through probate. You will also list your successor trustee as well as any beneficiaries to ensure your wishes get carried out.
The beneficiary deed is another cheaper option, but with this there is very little flexibility of terms and often generates real problems for the beneficiaries later, especially if multiple beneficiaries are listed. This is forcing persons into partnerships and those seldom end well.
You might be thinking that you’ll place your car in your living trust, but that leads to going through the removal process should you decide to sell it before you pass away. Most states require additional forms of which even professional sellers and buyers are seldom aware. Instead, we always recommend a client assign by Transfer on Death (TOD) beneficiary when you receive your title. This prevents the car from going into probate and transfers the vehicle to your heir seamlessly. This can also be done after acquiring title by submitting a form and a relatively small fee.
Expert Planning With Paths Law Firm
Probate is a hassle, but with the right estate plans, you can save your loved ones from dealing with the probate process regarding your house and car. Rather than relying on an executor and the state to sort through your belongings, you can create an iron-clad estate plan that gives to whomever you see fit. To start a living trust and get your estate planning underway, contact us to solidify your estate plans.
At Paths Law Firm, we provide a range of legal services for Missouri and Kansas residents, including estate and business planning, elder law, and probate counsel. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help.