There is a lot to think about when creating an estate plan, including what will happen to your estate immediately upon your death.

Your goal is to plan for every situation imaginable, while also protecting your loved ones to the best of your ability. And that’s why it’s a good idea to take steps to ensure that your estate avoids probate.

There are many ways to do this, including but not limited to:

  • Gifting assets before your passing
  • Creating a living trust
  • Using joint ownership when possible
  • Payable on death financial accounts

Through the combination of these strategies, you’re doing your part in helping your estate avoid probate.

But why is this so important? There are many reasons why you don’t want your estate to go through probate, including the following:

  • It’s costly: Even if everything goes as planned, the costs associated with probate can quickly mount. And when that happens, there is less to leave behind to your beneficiaries.
  • It’s time-consuming: Your loved ones are already dealing with your loss. The last thing they need is to deal with a complex and time-consuming probate process.
  • It can result in arguments: You should do everything you can to prevent problems among family members upon your death. And avoiding probate is one of the best ways to do so. For example, when you have a living trust, there’s no concern about a will contest by someone who feels left out.

It’s one thing to create an estate plan, but another thing entirely to turn some of your attention to the probate process. Even though this occurs after your death, it’s the decisions you make while creating an estate plan that will dictate what happens down the road.

If you already have an estate plan, review it to better understand if you’ve taken steps to avoid probate.

And if you’ve yet to create an estate plan, consider the many moves you can make to ensure that your estate avoids probate upon your death. For example, you could create a living trust and use joint ownership to reach all your goals.

Choose a strategy that works for you and your family and then take the appropriate action.