Probate is the process of identifying the property, assets, and liabilities of a deceased person after they pass away, and then transferring those assets to the listed beneficiaries. Usually, any assets or property not given to a beneficiary will have to go through Arizona’s probate system.
Even with a Will, your items still usually go through the probate process. A Will just provides instructions for the probate process. For anyone hoping to avoid the probate system, there are things you can do in your lifetime to keep your belongings out of probate.
Use Joint Ownership on Property Titles
You can designate ownership with rights of survivorship when you acquire or title your property. Holding a property with survivorship allows each party to have equal rights and ownership on the property. This makes the property automatically transfer to the survivorship owner on the title in the event of the owner’s death.
Use Revocable or Living Trusts
A trust is a pathway to transfer property from one owner to another after the death of the trust holder. It’s nice because it allows everyone involved to avoid court involvement when transferring the property. It is also flexible and can be altered at any time during the trust holder’s lifetime. After you create your trust you must fund your assets to the trust. Funding your trust in the process of transferring ownership of your assets from you to your trust. You must physically change the titles from your name) to the name of your trust. You will not avoid probate if your trust is not fully funded.
Make All Of Your Accounts Payable on Death
Add the Payable on Death option to your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, real property, and vehicles. You need to visit your bank or other financial institution and fill out a POD form to enact the POD on your accounts. On the form, you can designate beneficiaries and percentages they will receive.