The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate’s complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple.
Note: If you want to brush up on the basics of Georgia estate planning (Wills, Probate, Power of Attorney, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts and Advanced Healthcare Directives) take a look at these free ebooks.
Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate:
Name a Beneficiary. The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include:
Create and Fund a Revocable Living Trust. A revocable living trust owns your property, yet you remain in charge of all legal decisions until your death. After your death, your named trustee manages your assets – according to your instructions. A trust works well if properly created and funded by an experienced estate planning attorney.
Own Property Jointly. Probate can be avoided if the property you own is held jointly with a right of survivorship. There are different ways that you can have joint ownership of property, but Georgia doesn’t allow all of them, such as:
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship – ownership simply transfers to other tenants upon your death (this is allowed in Georgia);
Tenancy by its entirety – is a form of joint tenancy with right of survivorship, but only for married couples in some states (Georgia is not one of those states);
Community property – property obtained during a marriage in some states (Georgia is not one of those states);
State laws play an important role here. We can help you determine which form of joint ownership, if any, is a good fit for you. Whether you are avoiding probate in Woodstock, avoiding probate in Roswell, or avoiding probate in Georgia, we can assist you.
Contact our office today at (678) 809-4922 or get our book, Estate Planning for the Modern Family. We’ll help you decide whether it makes sense to avoid probate in your particular case and, if so, the best way to do so.