Dealing with probate can be a long and frustrating process. In this post, learn how to avoid probate court in Union County!
Nobody wants to have to go through the probate process. Being the Administrator or the Executor of a Probate is tedious. By planning ahead, you can avoid probate, giving your family the peace of mind they need when they are going to deal with the sad and difficult situation of your passing. Maybe you are going through Probate right now for a family member and realize how time consuming it can be.
Why Avoid Probate?
Why would you want to avoid probate to begin with? There are a number of reasons why people want to avoid probate in Union County. First of all, there are the fees. Attorney fees, appraisal fees, court costs, and executor fees can all add up fast. Here in Union County, if you want to avoid attorney fees and handle the probate yourself from soup to nuts, you can avoid to hire an attorney. As long as you are a North Carolina resident, you can do it personally. However if you are the Executor of a Will or the Administrator of a Probate, and you live out of state, you need to appoint a “Resident Agent of the State”. However, Probates are sometimes difficult to navigate and the help of an attorney is highly recommended. Many times, the executor will waive their fee in an effort to maintain fairness among the family. But that is not always the case. Since there is a lot of work involved with a Probate, the Executor/Administrator will have to take days off to go to the courthouse and it can be costly. In addition, the probate process can often be very time-consuming. All of the assets and heirs will need to be accounted for, with proper notice being provided. Debts and taxes will need to be paid and settled before any inheritances are passed on to the beneficiaries. All in all, going through the probate process isn’t something anyone wants to deal with if they don’t have to.
Using A Trust
A person can set up a trust to ensure their assets will not be subject to the probate process. By setting up a revocable living trust a person can ensure items contained therein will not be subject to the probate process. The trust will need to be set up while the person is of sound mind and able to decide for themselves what will go into the trust. The trust can be thought of like a bucket, all assets the individual wants to place in the trust will then be set aside and managed accordingly. It is very important to keep that trust up to date. Assets can fluctuate over time. Every asset that would have been overlooked will have to be included in the Probate, unless it is considered as a “Small Estate”. You an find all the guidelines for the state of North Carolina here.
When a person buys a home with someone else, they can enter a joint ownership agreement. With the right of survivorship, the property is passed to the surviving owner, without having to go through the probate process. It’s important to set this up when purchasing a property as adding someone to the deed after the fact may cost money. In North Carolina, you are authorized to sell the personal residence of a deceased person, before the end of the Probate, providing that you have legally published the notice to creditors.
Many times when setting up a bank account or life insurance policy, you will assign a beneficiary. By doing this, these items will not be subject to the probate process. Be sure that you keep your beneficiary designations up to date. Many people fail to make these changes after a divorce or after someone passes. This can lead to your ex getting everything or the asset having to go through the probate process.
Giving It All Away
Before you die, you can consciously “give away” the majority of your assets to family members or other beneficiaries. If you don’t own the asset when you pass away, it won’t have to go through the probate process. Many assets, specifically items worth $11,000 or less can be given away without any federal tax penalty. You can gift a person this amount once per year and in doing so, you can significantly reduce the value of your assets that go through the probate process.
In North Carolina, it can be easier to avoid probate if the person passing away has only a small estate. To be considered small, the amount of the estate may not exceed $20,000 (net estate i.e. after paying debts, taxes, bills etc.) That amount climbs to $30,000 if the sole heir is the surviving spouse..
It can be very beneficial for heirs to avoid the probate process in Union County. Between the fees, costs, and stress, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. If you want to learn more about how to avoid probate in Union County, reach out to us today!
Contact us to learn more about how to avoid probate court in Union County!
Please note that we are not attorneys and that this information is relayed to you in good faith, but can in no circumstances be considered as legal advice. We would recommend that you always consult your attorney.