How Can My Heirs Avoid Probate When I Die?

If a deceased person has a will, it must go through what is called the probate process. Probate ensures that the wishes of the deceased are carried out to the letter and that beneficiaries will receive what is due to them.

While probate assures that the deceased’s wishes are honored, it is true that the probate process can be time consuming. You may wonder, “Are there ways that my heirs can avoid having to go through probate?”

Here are some options for helping your heirs avoid probate when you die.

Living Trusts
In Georgia, you can set up a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own, whether it’s real estate, financial accounts, vehicles, or other assets.

A qualified estate planning law firm can help you create a trust document that transfers ownership of the property to the trust and names you as trustee. You will no longer directly own the property; the trust will own it.

You then name someone to take over as trustee after your death. This person is known as the successor trustee. You will also name the trust’s beneficiaries (your heirs). Upon your death, the successor trustee will be able to transfer your property to your heirs without going through probate.

Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS)
If you own property jointly with someone else, the surviving owner will automatically own the property when you die if you have stipulated JTWROS in the titles or deeds. No probate will be necessary to transfer the property, although the surviving owner will need to provide proof that they have right of survivorship.

Give the Assets Directly to Your Heirs
Giving assets away as gifts before you die is one way to assure that your heirs can avoid probate.

Name Specific Beneficiaries for Your Assets
You can name specific beneficiaries on your financial accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets now so that they will receive them directly when you die without having to go through probate.

If you would like to discuss the best way for your heirs to avoid probate, please call us at (678) 720-0750 or e-mail us at to schedule a consultation. We can discuss your situation, answer your questions, and determine the solutions that will work best for you.

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