Should I Try to Avoid Probate?
“Probate” is the word used to describe the administration of a person’s estate, which can be a long, complex and sometimes expensive procedure. In some states probate is a relatively short and inexpensive process, but you should ask a professional adviser about your own situation. If probate does appear to be a problem, several strategies are available:
You may be able to reduce your probate estate to qualify for “small estate” treatment that will shorten probate or avoid it completely. Many financial arrangements – retirement plans, CDs, savings and brokerage accounts, for example – can pass outside probate by means of beneficiary designations.
You could transfer most of your assets to a revocable living trust (see below).
Where practical, you can reduce your probate estate by making lifetime gifts to your beneficiaries, rather than leaving them assets at death. Note: Friends who “accelerate bequests” for our benefit can enjoy income tax savings and the satisfaction of seeing their generosity at work right now.
The materials contained on this website are intended only to show some ways by which you can make a charitable gift or bequest and thereby minimize federal tax liabilities, as authorized by the Internal Revenue Code. All examples are of a general nature only and should not be applied to your specific situation without first consulting your attorney or other advisers.
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