When creating an estate plan or Last Will and Testament, properly titling your assets can go a long way to avoiding burdensome issues in probate court when disposing of these assets to your heirs. Oftentimes, probate can be avoided entirely if assets are titled the appropriate way prior to your death.
If you and your spouse own your home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, that home will pass to the surviving spouse without having to be probated. Similarly, if you jointly own bank and investment accounts, or title those accounts as payable on death to a surviving heir, you can avoid having that asset tied up in probate. It is important to make sure that bank accounts, investment accounts and CDs are titled correctly to avoid having to file a Petition with a Probate Court to re-title these accounts and distribute them to the proper heirs after your death.
I recently dealt with a situation where a bank held an account in trust for an heir despite the fact that the decedent never created or filed a trust agreement, named no trustee and never intended for the assets to be held in trust, but rather to be payable on death to the heir. It required the expensive, and time consuming process of filing a Petition to correct this action with the Probate Court.
If you are preparing your estate plan, please contact us to help you meet your goals, properly title your assets and create clear intentions in your will.
Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr.
The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr., LLC
3888 Renee Drive, Suite 201
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579