Q&A - How can I keep my heirs from having to go through probate?

Besides setting up a Family Trust, there are a few other ways to avoid probate. These include the following:

(1) The property can be set up with a joint tenancy or a life estate form of ownership;

(2) Bank accounts and securities investments (stocks and bonds) can designate a “payable on death” beneficiary;

(3) A married couple can sign a devolution agreement; or

(4) The property can be given away to friends of family prior to death.

Unfortunately, these alternatives usually have significant adverse tax or other implications. A person should confer with an attorney before deciding to use one of these options in order to avoid probate.

Daniel Patchin

Barry Peters