The probate process, which involves having a court “prove” the contents of your will, is often costly and time-consuming, so you may want to make efforts to help your loved ones avoid it if possible. Luckily, you may be able to help them avoid the probate process by planning ahead and taking care when drafting your estate plan.
According to some estimates, the probate process may take anywhere from about three months to three years, or potentially even longer. To streamline the process of your beneficiaries receiving what you leave them, consider taking the following actions.
Make accounts payable on death when possible
Making certain accounts payable on death is a relatively easy and seamless way to have those assets go straight to your intended beneficiaries without them having to go through probate. In most cases, this simply involves drafting a form that dictates who your chosen beneficiary is. Then, your IRAs or other personal accounts wind up going straight to that person when you pass, rather than going through probate.
Use revocable trusts
Creating a revocable trust gives you a chance to leave assets behind to loved ones or other beneficiaries without those assets winding up in probate. This method helps you avoid probate without making you surrender any of your debts while still living. It also helps ensure that your beneficiary receives what you leave behind within a reasonable timeframe, and it may also lead to savings on inheritance fees.
Research state laws and provisions
Every state handles estate planning in its own way, and Georgia is no exception. If your estate and situation meet certain criteria with regard to size, property type and so on, you may be able to use certain provisions to your advantage. Someone well-versed in the laws, provisions and practices in place in your specific area may be able to help you identify those that may apply and potentially benefit you.