When you are engaged in your estate planning efforts, you have the power to control when your heirs will receive their inheritances if you take the right steps.
Let’s look at the details.
Estate Administration & Probate
After you pass away, your estate must be administered so that your wishes can come to fruition. When a last will is used as a vehicle of asset transfer, the executor or personal representative must admit the will to probate.
Your heirs would not receive their inheritances until the estate was probated and closed by the court. The exact duration of the probate process will depend on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the case in question. Under most circumstances, it will take close to a year, even if there are no complications.
More Timely Transfers
Your heirs could receive their inheritances in a more timely fashion if you were to take certain steps that would facilitate asset transfers outside of probate. One way you can go about it would be to convey assets into a revocable living trust.
You do not have to be afraid of losing access to the assets while you are living when you create this type of trust. As the trust creator you could act as the trustee at first, and you could also be the beneficiary of the trust.
To leave behind your final instructions, you create a trust declaration. You name successor beneficiaries along with a successor trustee in this document.
After your passing, the trustee would follow your instructions. Assets that are in the trust could be distributed to the beneficiaries according to your wishes outside of probate. As a result, the distributions could take place relatively quickly if the trust contains ready liquidity.
This is just one option, but there are other ways that assets can be transferred outside of probate. There are different types of trusts that can be utilized that facilitate probate avoidance while simultaneously satisfying other objectives.
Property that is held in joint tenancy would pass to the surviving joint tenant quickly outside of probate, and assets in a payable on death account would be transferred to the beneficiary shortly after the death of the primary account holder.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you would like to explore all of your options with regard asset transfer vehicles, our firm can help. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a brief message through our contact page to set up an appointment: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorneys.