Most estate planners assume that having a will or living trust can keep their heirs from having to go through probate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are numerous variables, potential oversights, and often confusing elements in the estate planning process. Any one of them can result in a need for probate. Learn more about how to reduce this risk with help from the following information.
Comparing Wills and Trusts
There are two basic methods used in estate planning: wills and trusts. Wills are an effective way to address guardianship issues, but they often increase the risk of probate because they can be challenged by family members. Living trusts are less likely to result in probate. Still, it is important to realize that a living trust does not eliminate the need for a will; almost no one disburses their entire estate through a living trust. Further, there may be elements in your estate plan that cannot be covered by a living trust.
Updating Your Beneficiaries
Couples marry, divorce, and then remarry. They have a child, and then maybe a few more. Family members pass away. In short, life changes. When it does, estate plans need updating. Beneficiaries need to be renamed or modified. Guardians may need to be altered or modified. Failure to do any of this can ultimately increase the risk of probate and may even lead to a loss of assets for a member of your family.
Using Payable and Transfer on Death
Payable-on-death and transfer-on-death accounts are one of the more effective strategies for reducing the overall risk of probate for your estate. They can be used to immediately transfer bank accounts, certificates of deposits, stocks, bonds, brokerage accounts, and other assets upon death. There are some limitations to these strategies, such as not being able to list an alternate beneficiary, so it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney to determine if this option may be appropriate for you.
Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers
If you are ready to start your estate plan, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Our DuPage County estate planning lawyers are dedicated to your best interest and your family’s future. We will examine your situation, explain your options, and assist you with a creative estate plan that can address your needs and desires. To get started, schedule your personalized consultation. Call us at 630-665-2500 today.