Sharon Ravenscroft Estate Planning Blog
Avoiding Probate Guidance
Keeping the court out of your assets and business is not difficult but does require certain steps. Be sure all accounts in your name have a pay on death designation or other beneficiary designation. A revocable trust can help you avoid probate court involvement but only if your assets are actually titled in your trust. For example, "Jane Doe as Trustee of the Doe Revocable Trust Dated January 3, 2005." Remember to always include the initial date your trust was signed, not thedate of any amendments. The initial date is part of the identifying name of your trust. If you keep a checking account in your name but have a co-signer on the account that only helps when you are living. A co-signer's ability to act ends on your death. Therefore, have a pay on death designation or, for a small working checking account, you could make a trusted person a co-owner. Then, that person would still have immediate access to that account for expenses that arise before your death certificates are issued.