Navigating the intricacies of the probate process can be time-consuming and costly. Some people prefer to plan their estate in a way that helps them avoid probate.
Consider implementing strategies in your estate planning process to help your heirs and beneficiaries bypass probate in Pennsylvania.
Establishing joint ownership
Establishing joint ownership of assets allows the property to bypass probate. When two people own real estate or another asset together, it automatically passes to the surviving owner when the other owner dies.
Designating beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts and payable-on-death bank accounts allows for the swift transfer of assets to the intended recipients. This step minimizes the need for probate.
Creating a trust
Establishing a revocable living trust lets you transfer assets to its ownership during your lifetime. The trust documents name beneficiaries for the property it holds. When you die, the trust administrator can distribute these assets to the intended person outside of probate.
Making gifts during your life
Transferring assets to heirs through lifetime gifts can minimize the probate process. However, you must consider gift tax implications and adhere to relevant regulations.
Using small estate procedures
In Pennsylvania, some estates qualify for simplified probate procedures, known as small estate procedures. Your estate must have a total value of less than $50,000 to be eligible for the small estate process. Consider structuring your financial plan to keep estate assets below this threshold.
Employing these strategies can potentially keep your estate out of probate, saving your loved ones time and money when they settle your final affairs.