Avoiding probate court is the goal of many estate planning attorneys. Why? Because probate court not only takes time and resources, but it takes money out of the estate left to a decedent’s heirs. While many estates end up in probate, there are ways to avoid it. Take a look at three tips to help keep your estate out of South Carolina probate court.
#1: Create a Living Trust
A living trust assigns ownership of your assets to a trust. When you die, the property ownership transfers to a trustee. A trustee’s job is managing the distribution of those assets as defined by the trust and your will. Because you don’t technically own the property at the time of your death, your estate can avoid probate.
#2: Consider Joint Ownership
If your property isn’t already jointly owned with another individual, such as a spouse or partner, it’s something to consider that can help avoid probate. When one owner dies, the surviving owner takes control of the property. Because a living person owns the property at that point, there is no need for probate.
#3: Talk to a Probate Attorney
Every estate is different and has different needs for both the owner and their heirs. Before jumping to any one action to try to protect your estate, it’s critical to enlist the guidance of a professional probate attorney. They can assess your circumstances, your property, and your assets and guide you on the best way to protect it for you while you’re living and for your heirs when you’re gone. Contact the team at McCutchen McLean, LLC for help and advice regarding estate planning and to avoid the probate courts.