Beneficiary Designations And Probate Avoidance

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 8:50 PM

Creating and fully funding a living trust during a person’s lifetime is one way to avoid “probate” (see the “Glossary” tab at the top of this page). As they say in the Geico commercial----“everybody knows that.” But did you know that there are other methods of avoiding probate? Non probate property includes property that passes by beneficiary designations other than those in a will, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, investment accounts, ...

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Joint Accounts: Pros, Cons, And Alternatives

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 8:25 AM

Many people add a child as a co-owner on bank and brokerage accounts. It is a convenient way of managing accounts, paying bills, and passing accounts to the co-owner on death outside of an estate. However, there are risks and drawbacks to joint ownership. First, a joint owner has the right to write checks and to make withdrawals. In most cases this will not be a major problem, since the person who added the co-owner probably trusts the co-owner not to make unauthorized withdrawa...

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Are Living Trusts The Right Tool For Everyone?

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 12:45 AM
A great deal of interest has been focused in recent years on revocable living trusts as the solution to all estate planning goals. Numerous books (including do-it-yourself form books) geared to the general public have been written on living trusts–especially in relation to avoiding probate. Ads in newspapers and magazines seek to attract potential clients to free seminars about living trusts that are put on by atto...
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Is Creating A Living Trust The Only Way To Avoid Probate?

Posted on April 25, 2014 at 3:20 PM

As discussed in an earlier post (“What Is Probate”, April 13, 2014), a will has to be “probated” in order to have legal force and effect.  But  that aspect of “probate” is not onerous or costly.  It is “probate” in the second meaning of that term–i.e, court supervision of the administration of an estate–that most people want to avoid.  Besides creating a living trust to avoid “probate” (a ...

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What Is Non Probate Property?

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 8:35 AM

“Probate property” is any type of property that is in the sole name of an individual and which, upon the death of the individual, will pass under a will or under the law of intestate succession if the individual dies without a will.  Conversely, “non probate property” is property which will not pass under a will or under the law of intestate succession.  Non probate property (with a few exceptions) is not subject to “probate” (administ...

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What Is Probate?

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 8:50 PM

The term “probate” refers to two separate, but often related, concepts.  The first meaning of “probate” is the process of submitting a will to the court in order to obtain an order that the will is valid as to form and witness requirements.  To be legally enforceable, all wills must be submitted to a court and determined to be valid.  In most Indiana counties, obtaining an order that a will is valid (probating the will) is often done in a jud...

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