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Probate and Ways to Avoid Probate

 Posted on March 22, 2013 in Beneficiaries

When people die with wills there are still accounts to settle. Probate is a court process which distributes and manages your estate according to your terms. It sounds like it should be an easy transition but in reality probate can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years.

There are also costs associated with probate proceedings. The list of costs comprises; appraisal fees, bond premiums, attorney and accountant fees, executor's fees, publication costs for legal notices, and court costs. In Illinois, there are numerous options available to make this transition easier for your loved ones by avoiding probate altogether.

Living trusts offer a way to avoid probate for nearly every asset. It requires a trust document which is similar to a will. This document names a trustee who will be responsible for transferring your estate to your beneficiaries and avoid probate.

Joint ownership is another way to transfer property if it is owned by you and someone else. This type of ownership includes a "right of survivorship" which transfers the property when one owner dies. This is also accomplished with joint bank accounts.

Various accounts such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance have the ability to be payable on death. POD accounts usually require one form to be filled out by the account holder. This effectively avoids because the beneficiary only needs to prove the death and their identity to collect the assets.

For more ways to limit or avoid the costly probate process, it is essential to consult a professional who can identify your specific needs. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in DuPage County to review your current estate plan.

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