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In addition to a revocable trust, one of the easiest and most expedient ways to avoid probate is to name a beneficiary and add alternate beneficiaries within any financial securities you own.   For instance, if you have a retirement account like 401(k),  I.R.A.’s or insurance policies, when you create the account, you typically have an ability to designate a beneficiary there and then. It is highly recommended to update those designations regularly, as it is easy to overlook these designations potentially decades later, and situations change over time.

In addition, one of the things to watch is when you have a joint account with anyone, and you don’t (for whatever reason) want that person to inherit the contents of that account.   As an example, perhaps you have a joint account with a former spouse that is used to deliver alimony or other support payments.   When you pass, the contents of that account go directly to the joint account holder through what is called “right of survivorship” often regardless of what is stated in your will.  That might be what you intend, or it might open the door to probate litigation.   Adding a “payable on death” provision to any joint bank account will help avoid probate. This will now mean that your named beneficiary will inherit the account after you die.

This is something that you can speak to your bank about, or turn to your wills and trusts attorneys at Taroff & Tatiz LLP.  

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