Probate is the court process in which a deceased person’s assets are distributed. Even the estates of those who die with a will must go through probate.
Sometimes, probate is a neccessary process. However, it can be very time consuming and expensive.
For some individuals, there are ways to avoid probate completely, or to reduce the amount of assets that have to go through probate. This can save family members a great deal of hassle and a good amount of money.
One of the best ways to avoid probate through estate planning is to take advantage of the many benefits of trusts. A trust is an entity that is distinct from the person who creates it. You can transfer property to a trust that will then be managed by a trustee of your choosing for whatever purpose you have established.
Trusts can be beneficial because when they are structured appropriately, the assets in a trust can pass without going through probate.
Many people opt to put their home in a living trust. Thus, the trust is the owner of your house – but you still get to live in it. Then, when it comes time to pass on the house to your heirs, it can be transferred without the expense and hassle of going through probate.
A home is often the largest asset that people pass on to their heirs. Even if other items have to pass through the probate process, by eliminating the need to probate a home, you can ultimately save thousands.
Source: The Palm Beach Post, Avoid probate court by putting homes in trust, Joseph Karp, June 13, 2013