As you begin to plan for the future of your estate, you may be worried about the thought of probate. While probate is not inherently evil, you might want to reduce the amount of your estate that goes through it. The costs and time involved with probate can put a lot of stress on your heirs. You may also not be a fan of the loss of privacy and control of the process.
1. Establish a revocable living trust
One of the best ways to safeguard your assets and reduce expenses is by holding your assets in a living trust. Living trusts allow you to easily manage your estate during your lifetime and smoothly transfer property to heirs upon your death. This reduces costs for your heirs because you will have had your assets appraised and taxes paid already.
2. Co-own property with your spouse
Texas is one of a few states with a unique ability to directly transfer ownership of your assets to your spouse. You can establish community property with the right of survivorship for a simple and smooth transfer of your property. If you are not married, you may be able to establish joint tenancy with someone else.
3. Give gifts
An easy way to avoid probate for some of your assets is by giving gifts while you are alive. If you do not own something while you are alive, it does not have to go through probate. You will have to remember tax consequences and limitations, though.
By utilizing these three tips, you can reduce the burden of probate from your heirs. If you need help with establishing a trust or have any other questions, contact an estate planning attorney.