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How can you shield assets from the probate process?

Estate planning is something that not everyone does, even though it is something that everyone should care about and address. but we are human, and as such, we are imperfect. We prioritize things we shouldn't, and leave important things on the back burner. Estate planning is often one of these "back burner" items. For those that do address their estate in a timely and appropriate fashion, avoiding the probate process is a goal that most people strive for.

This is because the probate process, though not always problematic, is time-consuming and can become complicated very easily. So many people that plan their estate do so in a way that allows them to avoid the probate process, if not wholly then partially.

There are a few ways to do this. One of the simplest is to simply give away your property and assets in an official way. When you formally "gift" these assets to other people, it means they are no longer part of your estate. Thus, they can't be part of the probate process.

Another way to have some of your assets avoid the probate process is to utilize a revocable living trust. Your property or assets are given to a third party to be managed by a trustee, and when the time is right, those assets can then be given to the final beneficiary. This allows the assets to avoid the probate process.

Last but not least, you can utilize joint property ownership agreements or "death beneficiaries." These transfer the property or asset to another person immediately upon the death of the grantor. Again, since it wouldn't be in the possession of the estate under these terms, it would no longer be open to probate.

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Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt
4023 Charles Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Toll Free: 800-207-5133
Phone: 815-516-8264
Fax: 815-229-0733
Rockford Office Location