Three Ways to Avoiding Probate

Because the probate process can be a lengthy, costly and a public process, many people choose to avoid it. There are many strategies that a person can utilize that would allow one to pass on property without going through the probate process.

  1. Beneficiary Designations – In Michigan, Transfer on Death or Pay on Death designations allow for a beneficiary to be added to bank accounts. These types of designations allow you to transfer property upon death without giving up ownership during your lifetime. Designations on these accounts will result in distribution to the beneficiary despite what is written in your will.
  1. Joint Tenancy – Adding another person to your assets as a joint owner or “joint tenant with rights of survivorship” will allow your property to pass to them upon your death without going through probate. There are potential negative drawbacks to such as the potential for creditors or potential lawsuits against the co-owner.
  1. Establishing a Trust – A Trust is legal document that is created to hold and manage your assets during life and then distribute your assets to your named beneficiaries upon your death. A properly drafted Trust can accomplish many goals, including guardianship and probate avoidance for your estate and bloodline, marital and creditor protection for your children.