The idea of forcing your family into probate when the process is so much easier while we are alive is a no brainer. On the flip side, inheriting a mess is an ugly alternative.
In my experience, it doesn’t matter if a family is young or old, rich or poor. Everybody gets a choice, a few being very inexpensive!
Here are three really fantastic strategies to reduce problems with a family home:
Certainly, there are more than three options. But, these are three of my favorites.
Joint Tenancy to Avoid Probate
Joint tenancy is a specific way to title a home. Although this method does NOT reduce problems to a 0% percent chance, it can serve as a good step in the right direction.
The next question I hear is “how do I find out”?
Generally, anybody can determine whether the deed to a house was titled joint tenancy by reading the deed.
For those who cannot find their deed, I encourage calling the real property department serving the county where the home is located.
A lot of people believe joint tenancy helps them avoid probate. Again, this isn’t the case, but it is a god start because a joint tenancy supports a right of survivorship.
Transfer Your House and Avoid Probate by using a TODD
A transfer on death deed does not necessarily help families avoid probate either.
However, these types of deeds are very inexpensive and help transfer a home quickly and efficiently in certain situations involving our death.
If the person(s) receiving the property are still alive, then a TODD can be an effective tool. If the person(s) receiving the property are not alive (dead), the effectiveness of a transfer on death deed has been defeated.
Not to worry, because there are other options to reduce this problem too.
Transfer Your House and Avoid Probate with a Trust
I love revocable trusts for a whole lot of reasons. Most families can use this type of estate planning document to their advantage.
Whether a trust can help depends on the documents being properly funded and:
- Assumes the trustee doesn’t engage in mischief,
- Beneficiaries are easily identified, and
- There is a trustee.
Wait, you are concerned about a crazy family member? The idea of meeting one-in-one is to flush out these issues.
Thus, this type of document is the preferred method of reducing problems.
Leaving It Up To Chance
I close with this: none of us know how things are going to end.
Money and cost is always important.
Luckily, there are excellent alternatives to the process of leaving everything to chance.