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Are there ways to avoid the probate process?

As you create an estate plan, you're faced with many questions. It's your job to answer each one with the idea that you will make decisions that will benefit you now and your loved ones in the future.

Due to the fact that the probate process can be time consuming and costly, you may want to look into ways to help your family avoid this.

There are many ways of doing so, with some of the best strategies as follows:

-- Joint property ownership. With this, the property simply passes on to the living joint owner when the other person dies.

-- Revocable living trust. It may be more expensive to create than a will, but it's something to consider if you want to ensure that your property avoids probate. With this, you can ensure that property is no longer part of your estate. And if it's not part of your estate, it can't go through probate.

-- Gifts. Have you ever considered the idea of making gifts while you are living? Although it takes some planning, it is a great idea if you're willing to get organized. This isn't the right decision for everyone, as you have to take into consideration gift taxes, but it's a strategy to consider nonetheless.

If you've been thinking about the probate process, you probably want to consider the many ways to help your family avoid this upon your death. With the right approach and legal assistance today, you can ensure that your family won't have to deal with this at a later date.

Source: FindLaw, "Avoiding the Probate Process," accessed Oct. 04, 2016

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