Some assets must, by law, move through the probate process. Fortunately, this list is quite slim. The majority of assets, within a will and outside of it, can be managed without moving through a lengthy and often frustrating probate. There are two clear tricks of business law that can maneuver assets quickly through the probate process, and sometimes even avoid it entirely.
The Pay-on-Death Record
There are certain accounts eligible for a pay-on-death status. These accounts are usually extremely straightforward. They include bank accounts, savings, or basic retirement funds. These accounts are not burdened with certain timelines. For example, a CD cannot be pay-n-death accredited because it must stay in "the system" for a determined amount of time. The basic idea of pay-on-death is that when the account holder passes away, another beneficiary has prompt access to the account. This allows the accounts to circumvent any extraneous probate process.
$100,000 and Below
It is possible for assets totals below $100,000 to avoid complicated probate attorneys allocation. Now these assets will still work through probate, but it is a quick and simple system. These assets are usually tied to a joint account or a living trust. For the most part, probate below $100,000 can be accessed rather quickly. Status' such as pay-on-death and joint tenancy (for home properties) make things a lot smoother. Joint tenancy rarely applies to strict financial assets, but it can help organize mortgages and property assets.
Probate, Easy and...Not So Much
There is often a two-tier system set up in probate within the first week or two of someone passing away. The first set-up consists of the simple assets (often referred to as probate1), such as bank accounts and retirement funds. These rarely have a lot of strings attached. The funds were readily accessible before, and there is often no specific reason they need to be inaccessible later (especially if it was clearly defined in a will). These assets consist of the first $100,000. From there, the probate gets a little more complicated. It must move through the right systems. This includes any investments made, as well as any pertinent debts owed through the estate.
There are many strategies that can help the planning for probate. It rarely needs to be this overwhelming and complicated systematic organization of assets. Sometimes, it is quite easy. Sometimes, people move on through the grieving process without being burdened by the financial aftermath.