How can I avoid probate?

 Everyone wants to avoid having their loved ones go through probate when they pass away.  That being said, there are some simple things you can do right now to help ensure your estate avoids probate.                                                                                            Senior man giving woman piggyback ride

First, make sure to assign a POD (Payable On Death) beneficiary to all your bank accounts.  This is a simple form that you get from each bank or credit union where you have an account.  Upon completion, your assigned beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will receive your account funds when you pass away, thereby avoiding probate.  Please note: not all tellers are familiar with this form and you may need to talk to someone in member services.

Second, make sure and assign a TOD (Transfer On Death) beneficiary to all your brokerage accounts.  This is a form you have to obtain directly from the brokerage company where you have your accounts.  You complete it by assigning a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) who will receive your accounts when you pass away, thereby avoiding probate.

Regarding property (your house, land, rentals, etc.), make sure to set up TOD with an attorney.  This will assign beneficiaries to all your property, thereby avoiding probate. 
Please note: you do not need to have these items placed in a trust to avoid probate.

All insurance contracts, such as Life Insurance, Annuities, etc., already avoid probate because you assign beneficiaries to them when you set them up.

If you have questions regarding any of these suggestions or would like information specific to you estate plan, please call us now.