Planning your estate means thinking about the people that you love and how you would like to help them after you die. It also means thinking about what happens to your property.
The physical items and financial assets that you include in your estate plan or last will typically have to go through probate court before they pass to your loved ones. Trying to avoid probate proceedings is a common hope for those planning their estates.
One of the tricks you can use to avoid probate is to arrange for the automatic transfer of certain assets to other people when you die. What assets can you transfer at the time of your death? Here are two:
1. Real estate
Whether you own your own home or you have investment properties, you have the option of transferring the ownership of those assets to others at the time of your death. The property where you live can transfer to someone who lives there with you already if you change the title so that the two of you share the property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
2. Financial accounts
Investment accounts, savings accounts and other financial holdings can often benefit from a transfer on death designation. By filling out certain paperwork, you can arrange for the contents of the account to transfer mediately to the ownership of someone else that you choose. (One thing to note: It’s important to make sure that you update those forms whenever appropriate since nothing in your will can override your beneficiary designations on those accounts.)
Arranging for the timely transfer of these assets means that you exclude them from probate proceedings and give your family members more immediate access to them. Careful estate planning can therefore help protect you and the family members that you love