Non-Probate Transfers

One of the simplest ways to avoid the probate process is to utilize non-probate transfers via beneficiary designations and different forms of property ownership.

At Bolinger Law Firm in St. Louis, an estate planning attorney will create and execute plans to transfer property without the property passing through the probate process, which would take considerable time and money and become public record.

Since the probate process is complicated, expensive, and highly stressful to those living, it is important to have an estate plan and effectively transfer property outside of the probate process whenever possible.

Benefits of Naming a Beneficiary

When you opened your bank account, do you remember the banker asking, “Who would you like to have the account if you should die?” What you probably don’t know is that the banker did you and your loved one a huge favor!

The person you named is your Beneficiary Designation. And by having that document, upon your death, you save your bank account and your loved one from the lengthy, stressful probate process, giving your beneficiary access to the money immediately. This can mean the world to a significant other or spouse, children, or siblings knowing they don’t have to “fight” for what they need to carry on.

  • Loved ones can carry on living in a way that they are used to without money and property being tied up in legal proceedings in the court system.
  • Your hard-earned money and real estate can easily pass to whomever you select right away, without the court choosing someone else or forcing your loved ones to sell.
  • With beneficiary designations and joint titling real estate, you know who is getting your assets and can have peace of mind that if something should happen to you suddenly, your loved ones will be taken care of immediately – with less effort and costs.

Types of Non-Probate Transfers

It is important to institute non-probate transfer techniques during your lifetime – the time and expenses incurred by your surviving loved ones if you fail to plan ahead can be drastically higher and much more stressful than need be.

Since non-probate transfer techniques avoid the probate process, your probate estate will be smaller, therefore resulting in less time to administer, lower costs, and fewer expenses in the long run.

  1. Beneficiary Deed – A beneficiary deed is a deed that conveys title of a parcel of real estate from the Grantor (or decedent) to a beneficiary or beneficiaries upon death. An advantage of utilizing a beneficiary deed is that an individual’s home is often their largest asset; by having the property transfer outside of the probate process, it is a quick and cost-effective way to pass property onto your loved ones.
  2. Beneficiary Designations – Bank accounts, brokerage accounts, car titles, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and numerous other accounts allow the ownership of the account to transfer upon the death by simply designating a beneficiary for the account.
  3. Joint Forms of Property Ownership – There are numerous forms of joint ownership of property, so it is important to make sure that property is held in a form of common ownership that more easily transfers the property upon the death of one party to the other. This provides an easy method to transfer ownership of your property at your death while avoiding the probate process.

How Do I Change My Beneficiaries?

If you have not addressed your will, trust, or beneficiary designations in a while, there are a few things to consider, like are your beneficiaries still living or in good favor? Is there a likelihood that one beneficiary may contest your wishes and drag the others into a court battle? Have you made a large property purchase without a joint title?

If you have named multiple beneficiaries and one should pass away, your estate and/or property is transferred to the remaining beneficiaries. However, if there is only one beneficiary designated and that person dies, then the property will pass into your probate estate which leads to a whole other time-consuming and expensive legal process.

Also, consider this – if there is a defective beneficiary designation, the designation will fail, and the property will end up in your probate estate and thus, in court.  If there are items or property that have been left without a beneficiary designation or not joint titled, again – these will be subject to legal proceedings.

You can see why it is important to adjust your beneficiary designations as you see fit and possibly retitle property in the event of beneficiary’s death. This ensures that your valuable property does not pass into probate in the event of your death.

Update Your Estate Plan Regularly

It is important to do a review of your estate plan often, especially as you age. Financial status and assets change, people pass away, and children grow. An estate planning lawyer at Bolinger Law Firm can do a review of your current estate plan, make sure you have beneficiary designations, and easily advise you on updates and current laws to make any number of changes at your request.

Free Consultation

Contact us today for a free non-probate transfer and estate planning consultation and have peace of mind that your property is protected and your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of your death, 636-386-8322.