What is Probate?

Probate is the process of transferring legal title to property at the time of the property owner’s death.

What property does and does not go through Probate?

Probate only applies to property you own individually. If you have gifted property during your life, or put property into a Trust during your life, you no longer own the property so it avoids probate.

Jointly owned property may also avoid probate, depending on how the property is owned. Property held as tenants in common will be subjected to probate for the share owned by the deceased owner. If property in owned in a joint tenancy, it avoids probate.

Planning to avoid Probate.

There are numerous ways to avoid probate, which can be combined with avoiding estate taxes. Avoiding estate taxes are described on other pages of this site.

Avoiding probate is essentially giving up ownership, or sharing ownership, but it does not have to mean losing control. Other pages on this site describe the making of lifetime Gifts, which would be done to take the property out of your Gross Estate for both Probate and Estate taxes.

Utilizing Revocable Trust will not avoid Estate Taxes, but because property ownership is with the trust, you avoid Probate. Revocable Trusts can still allow you to have control of the property during your life.

Placing property in an Irrevocable Trust is similar to making a complete Gift. You lose some or all control over the property, which can avoid some or all Estate Taxes. Additionally, the property in the Irrevocable Trust will avoid all Probate.

Please review the other pages on this site to gain more knowledge or answer any questions you may have, and feel free to schedule a free initial consultation by sending us an email at [email protected] or calling us at (952) 854-2900.