After you die, all your assets may need to go through a probate process for equal distribution among family members and to pay off any debt or taxes. This process can be complicated and expensive. However, you can employ a few legal strategies through an experienced attorney to protect your assets to help save your loved ones time and money. Here are three ways you can protect your assets from the probate process with estate planning.
Create a Valid Will and Trust
The probate process can take several months to a year to determine the validity of a will and distribute assets to your loved ones. Creating a will through an attorney can help speed up this process to save money in court costs. In addition, you may avoid the probate process by creating one or more trusts through estate planning. This strategy can protect your assets from creditors and minimize taxes on your estate. Your assets can directly go to your beneficiaries without court involvement.
Select Beneficiaries for Your Financial Accounts
Another important aspect of estate planning to protect your assets from probate is selecting beneficiaries for your financial accounts. These accounts can include IRA, 401(k) and life insurance policies. You can shield these assets from creditors and reduce your court fees. Review these documents regularly to ensure the proper beneficiaries are listed. Ensure your spouse is listed jointly on these accounts so assets may be distributed automatically.
Consider Gifting Assets
Probate costs typically depend on the total value of your estate. To lower the value, you can gift assets with your estate planning up to approximately $15,000 annually on a tax-free basis. However, you may need to pay a gift tax if you exceed this amount. Consider consulting a certified public accountant to determine how much gifting you can do for your situation.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Solutions to Protect Your Assets
Estate planning can help simplify the probate process and significantly lower costs for your loved ones. Turner Law specializes in comprehensive estate planning solutions to protect the future of your family and assets. Call to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your case today.
Posted on the behalf of Turner Law, LLC