Probate Does Not Have To Be Inevitable
The probate process can be lengthy and expensive. It can also put a great deal of added stress on loved ones during an already difficult time. The good news is that proper advance planning with the guidance and help of an experienced estate planning lawyer can eliminate the need for probate in many cases.
My name is Mark A. Werner, and I’m a Kansas estate attorney who has been helping people in Crawford County and southeast Kansas to do exactly that for more than three decades.
Establishing A Revocable Living Trust
You don’t need to have a large estate or substantial assets in order to benefit from creating a trust. In fact, more and more people are choosing to use revocable living trusts as the primary component in their estate planning.
The benefits offered by these versatile estate planning tools include avoiding probate, reducing the size of the estate so that it qualifies for Kansas’ simplified probate process, keeping it all private (probate creates a public record), transferring assets much more easily and minimizing expenses.
Although any assets you choose to transfer to the trust will be owned by the trust, you don’t have to give up control of those assets. In most cases, the trust document outlining the purpose and terms of the trust will also include a provision naming you as the trustee (control) and someone else who will serve a successor trustee after your death.
Other Tools For Avoiding Probate
Whether you choose to create a revocable living trust or not, there are several other useful tools and strategies that I can discuss with you and potentially use to your advantage. These include:
- The “joint tenancy with right of survivorship,” which will automatically transfer full ownership of real property to the surviving joint tenant
- Payable-on-death (POD) designations for bank accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit
- Transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds for real estate, officially recorded but not effective until death
- Registering motor vehicles and securities/stocks in transfer-on-death (TOD) form
With each of these strategies yet again, you retain control of the assets in question while avoiding the need for those assets to pass through probate.
Contact The Law Office of Mark A. Werner
To learn more about the various estate planning tools and strategies that can be used to avoid probate in Kansas, call my office in Pittsburg at 620-206-4082 or complete this brief email contact form.