Tips for Avoiding Probate in Washington State
Going through the probate process in Washington State can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. The longer probate takes, the longer your beneficiaries will have to wait to receive the inheritance you left for them. However, not all estates in Washington have to go through the probate process and there are tips you can use to avoid it altogether. Below, our probate avoidance lawyer outlines what they are.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that settles the estate of a person who has passed away. The probate courts will determine the assets that are within a person’s estate and how they are to be distributed. Creditors can also make claims against the estate if the deceased carried debt liability at the time of their death. The probate process also gives people a chance to contest wills, trusts, or other aspects of a person’s estate plan.
Draft a Living Trust
Also known as a revocable trust, a living trust can help your loved ones avoid probate. You can transfer property into a living trust and control that property during your lifetime. After you pass away, the property within the trust is distributed directly to your beneficiaries without the need to go through probate.
While you can make changes to a revocable trust during your lifetime, that might not be as easy with an irrevocable trust. While irrevocable trusts are not as flexible, they can provide your estate with greater tax benefits and long-term care savings after you pass away.
Draft a Community Property Agreement
If you are married and would like your spouse to receive all of your assets if you pass away before them, you can draft a community property agreement (CPA). A CPA will convert all of your assets into marital property, which allows your spouse to receive the property without the need to go through probate.
While drafting a CPA has many benefits, there are also many drawbacks, such as what happens after the death of the second spouse. It is important to speak to a probate avoidance lawyer first to determine if a CPA is right for you.
Transfer-on-Death Deed (TOD)
A transfer-on-death deed (TOD), also known as a beneficiary deed, is an important tool that can make real estate transfer less complicated. These types of deeds are relatively new in Washington, but they have already become very popular. A TOD will allow you to name a beneficiary who will receive the property within the deed when you pass away. The transfer process is direct with a TOD and so, it is a simple way to avoid the probate process.
TOD deeds do have to meet several strict legal requirements in order for them to be enforced. It is important to speak to a Yakima probate avoidance lawyer when considering this option.
Our Probate Avoidance Lawyers in Spokane Can Advise On Your Case
At Moulton Law Offices, P.S., our Spokane probate avoidance lawyers can help you and your family members avoid a long, expensive, and complex process after you pass away. We can advise on the legal tools to include in your plan, so you and your heirs are protected. Call us now at 509-328-2150 or chat with us online to request a consultation and to learn more.