August 14, 2018 | by Thomas Day
Probate avoidance is not as important as it used to be because of the many states that are bypassing the formal probate process with simplified options. But there are still a number of states that have not provided relief from the high cost and time involved. In addition, even in those states where it is simplified, it is much easier to avoid the process altogether. Here are some of the more common strategies.
Pay on Death for Bank Accounts
Almost any bank will establish a pay on death for savings, CDs and checking accounts. This is not automatic and this option must be initiated by the owner. This is not a joint account and the person or persons who are listed on the pay on death card has no access to the funds while the owner is alive. At death of the owner, the beneficiary on the account presents a death certificate and evidence of identity and can take over the account.
Tax Qualified Retirement Accounts
These accounts are such things as IRAs, 401(k)s, 403b's, 401(a)s, SEPP, SIMPLE and so on. Contract provisions of these accounts are governed by the IRS. All of these qualified accounts allow for naming a beneficiary or beneficiaries in the event of death. As a result, these accounts automatically bypass probate. It should be noted that in community property states, if the account was acquired and funded while the couple was married, half of any of these accounts belongs to the surviving spouse.
Continue Reading - Some Ideas on How to Avoid Probate
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