The process of probate involves the transfer of a deceased individual’s assets to persons who are the rightful inheritors of those assets. The entire process can be complex, expensive, and last quite some time, anywhere from six months to several years in Minnesota. At Berglund Law Office, Attorney Ronald Berglund offers an array of legal services, including estate planning, family law, elder law, real estate law, small and business law representation. He can show you how to avoid probate because he is one of the leading probate attorneys near the Twin Cities.
JOINT PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
The “right of survivorship” applies if you own property jointly with someone else. In this case, the other owner(s) of the property are not subject to the probate process in court for that property after your death. The survivor in this case has automatic ownership of the property when the other owner of the property dies.
In Minnesota, assets owned in joint tenancy make the right of survivorship available to the surviving owner(s). These owners automatically inherit the assets of the owner(s) who passed away. Joint tenancy applies in Minnesota with vehicles, bank accounts, real estate property, and other valuable assets. No probate court proceeding is applicable for assets owned in joint tenancy.
CREATE LIVING TRUSTS
In Minnesota, another way you can learn how to avoid probate attorneys near the Twin Cities is by establishing a living trust that helps you bypass the need for probate for most of your assets. These include bank accounts, real estate, art collections, vehicles, and more. Before a living trust is created, a trust document must be created. This document is like a will. The living trust designates a successor trustee who is the person who will operate as a trustee after your death.
When you transfer your ownership of a property to yourself as a trustee of the trust, a living trust is created. The trust essentially owns your property and you retain control of the trust while you are alive. The property is then controlled based on the terms laid out in the trust document agreed to by the parties involved. Upon your death, the successor trustee has the power to transfer trust assets to beneficiaries without the need for probate court.
DEATH BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS
You may designate a beneficiary to inherit an asset without probate court involved by assigning an asset with a beneficiary designation. Payable on death accounts, retirement accounts, and transfer on death registrations are some of the assets assigned to beneficiaries.
You can also avoid probate by gifting assets. However, this must be done prior to the person’s passing. If someone chooses to gift all of their assets to beneficiaries before they pass away, the probate process in court becomes unnecessary. Anyone thinking about doing this should take into consideration the possible tax consequences.