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Can probate be avoided?

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Yes, but that doesn't mean that estate administration and tax filings can also be avoided. Strictly speaking, probate involves only the court process of transferring property. Much property passes without court involvement. For instance, jointly owned property goes to the surviving joint owner outside of probate. Similarly, life insurance proceeds and some retirement benefits go to the named beneficiary. (However, if the beneficiary is the estate, the proceeds will still pass through probate.) In most cases, trust property goes to the beneficiaries named in the trust instrument without probate court involvement. So it is possible to avoid the court process by placing all property in one of these forms of ownership. However, that does not eliminate the requirement of filing an estate tax return. Life insurance proceeds, jointly held property and most trust property are all part of the taxable as opposed to the probate estate of the deceased. Where a tax return is required, much of the ... more
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Yes. Certain property will not have to pass through probate before it can be distributed. They include jointly held property (joint bank accounts, real estate held as joint tenants, etc.), community property (unless one spouse Wills away his or her one-half interest in the community property), small estates (in California estates valued at less than $100,000 can pass by way of a signed affidavit according to the probate code), life insurance proceeds (as long as they are not payable to the estate of a deceased person), IRA’s, 401K’s, retirement accounts, and property passing to a surviving spouse (California allows property to pass to a surviving spouse through a streamlined process called a spousal property petition), and assets held in a living trust. more
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Yes, in certain situations. Probate involves only the court process of transferring property. For example, if a husband and wife own everything jointly, the jointly owned property would go to the surviving spouse and no probate is necessary. This is the same for other joint owners of property. Property in a trust would go to the beneficiaries outside of probate. Life insurance proceeds and some retirement benefits go to the named beneficiary. Even when property does not pass through probate, if a tax return is required, similar work to administering an estate must be done. more
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Probate can be avoided with careful planning. There are a number of different techniques for doing so which can be used alone or in combination with each other.
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A. Probate can be avoided with proper planning. There are a number of different techniques for doing so which can be used alone or in combination. more
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Probate can be avoided with careful planning. There are a number of different techniques for doing so which can be used alone or in combination. more
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Yes, in certain situations. Probate involves only the court process of transferring property. For example, if a husband and wife own everything jointly, the jointly owned property would go to the surviving spouse and no probate is necessary. This is the same for other joint owners of property. Property in a trust would go to the beneficiaries outside of probate. Life insurance proceeds and some retirement benefits go to the named beneficiary. Even when property does not pass through probate, if a tax return is required, much of the work of administering an estate must still be done. more
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As a rule, not entirely. There are various types of Estate Planning tools that can simplify Probate. However, most States now require that even Family Trusts must go through some type of Probate proceeding. more
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