The last thing most Illinois estate owners want is to inadvertently tie their loved ones up in months or years of legal disputes when it comes time to administer their estates. The good news is that it is often possible to avoid probate litigation. Planning ahead and seeking clarification of state laws may be keys to success.
The probate process often has to do with transferring of assets. There are several means for transferring property ahead of time to help loved ones steer clear of probate litigation down the line. A trust is essentially a right to own property. There are various types of trusts, and each estate owner may customize his or her plan to best fit individual goals.
Many people choose to transfer property assets through revocable trusts. A revocable trust may be altered or revoked by the trustmaker. When property is placed in trust, it is no longer part of an estate and, therefore, not subject to probate. Sometimes, a trust is created as part of a final will, whereupon the benefits are transferred to a designated beneficiary when the estate is administered.
Many Illinois estate owners choose to transfer less valuable assets through gifts, which is another means for avoiding probate litigation. State laws and tax regulations apply, which is why it is always best to seek experienced guidance before implementing a plan. Certain registrations, such as those attached to vehicles, stocks or bonds, may be transferable to beneficiaries as well, which keeps such assets out of probate. An estate planning attorney can help an estate owner determine which options are most viable in his or her situation.
Source: FindLaw, “Avoiding the Probate Process“, Accessed on May 22, 2018