While you know little about estate administration in Michigan, you know you want to avoid probate at all costs. What does that look like?
Forbes offers strategies for circumventing the judicial process. Take steps to ensure your heirs and beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Revocable living trust
While still alive, you may create a revocable living trust that dictates how you wish to divide real estate among your beneficiaries. The way the trust avoids probate is by transferring asset ownership to your named trustee. That way, the trustee has the right to transfer trust assets to your intended loved ones.
Transfer financial assets that you wish to avoid probate into payable/transfer-upon-death accounts. Upon your death, your named beneficiaries receive the contents of the retirement or bank account without first dealing with the probate court.
Rather than wait until your death before distributing your accounts and belongings, you may gift them, instead. Because gifts do not belong to you, they do not qualify for probate. Another reason to consider gifting as a method of avoiding probate is that doing so reduces the overall cost of the legal process. Expensive assets often result in a high probate cost.
If you own a property you wish to pass on, consider joint ownership in which you list your and the intended heir’s name on the title. When you die, the property automatically transfers to the other owner. Common examples of joint ownership include community property with right of ownership, joint tenancy with right of survivorship and tenancy by the entirety.
Probate does not have to become an assured outcome. Explore and exercise your options for peace of mind.