Probate is perhaps one of the most tedious and frustrating processes that grieving families have to contend with after the loss of a loved one. However, depending on the type of document left for the family in terms of the deceased person’s wishes for their estate, probate may be unavoidable. This is why planning ahead is so important. With the right pre-planning, there are ways to avoid probate in Arizona or any other state. Here are three steps to avoiding probate in Arizona, in particular.
- Opt for a living trust: It does all of the same things as a will in terms of stipulating a person’s wishes for their assets upon death. The living trust account is set up to disseminate aspects of your estate as you see fit, without causing your family to have to go through the process of a legal proceeding to do as you wish. In fact, this is the best way to avoid probate in Arizona and ensure that your estate is dealt with in the manner in which you see fit after your death. You can even appoint a trustee to administer your estate to make sure everything goes smoothly as stipulated in your living trust.
- Make sure joint property includes property designation: So, if for example, you and your spouse own a home together. You want to ensure that the property automatically transfers to that other person with the “right of survivorship” clause. This ensures that your portion of the property doesn’t have to go through probate and your spouse can retain all rights to the home. This applies to couples that are unmarried as well; this designation on your property paperwork is another step to avoid probate in Arizona, in particular.
- Designate a payable-on-death option for your financial accounts: If you are married or you have a beneficiary for your estate, they shouldn’t have to wait for the probate process to be complete before they can have access to the monies in a joint – or even an individual – financial account. Designate your account as one that is payable-on-death to ensure that your financial assets aren’t tied up in probate when your family needs it the most. This is yet another way to avoid probate in Arizona, and in many other states as well.