Can Smart Estate Planning Help You Avoid Probate?

When an individual passes away without an estate plan, the court assumes the responsibility of distributing their property. This process is guided by Washington’s state probate laws, and it can be both costly and time-consuming. When your estate enters probate, it also becomes a matter of public record, which can impact your family’s privacy during a difficult time.

Fortunately, there are estate planning strategies that can help you avoid probate. At James A. Jones, Attorney at Law, we work with clients in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area to create comprehensive estate plans that ease disbursal of their assets. By properly planning, you can greatly simplify matters for your beneficiaries when the time comes.

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We Can Find The Right Strategy For You

We know that everyone’s estate planning needs are different, which is why we employ several strategies for avoiding probate. Tactics that we use to accomplish this include:

  • Revocable trusts: When you create a revocable trust, also known as a “living trust,” the property you put in it immediately belongs to the trust. You then become the trustee for these assets. Upon your death, the person who you deem as your successor will take over, allowing for a seamless transition without court intervention.
  • Community property agreements: For married couples, a community property agreement can be a method for avoiding probate. By declaring your assets as community property, you enable their transfer to your surviving spouse upon death.
  • Transfer on death (TOD) designations: By using a TOD beneficiary designation for your financial accounts and/or real estate holdings, you can easily pass along certain assets to a loved one.

Our firm recognizes that you want to impart as little burden as possible on your beneficiaries. By avoiding a probate process that can, in some cases, take years, you minimize potential hassles for your family. Our lawyer will work with you to make a plan that suits your needs, while also considering how it will impact the ones you love.