A probate is the transfer of a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries. It can be an arduous process if the decedent did not prepare accordingly. The more you do to prepare for your death, the easier it will be for your loved ones when you are gone. Having your financial, estate and guardianship ducks in a row makes the practical part of death much easier to handle for your survivors.

If your loved one has passed away without any delegation, there are a wide variety of options to pursue in the probate process. Our attorneys at Lyons Sullivan have extensive knowledge on probate law here in WA. The best way to work with these situations is to call us directly to talk about innovative ideas available to you.

Do your family and friends a favor right now and organize your assets to avoid probate in the future. Here is a brief overview of ways to avoid the probate process in Washington.

Create A Living Trust

A living trust is similar to a Will. It makes nearly every asset available to your designated “successor trustee” after your death. Once your trust is created, all ownership must be delegated to yourself as the owner of the trust so that when you die the property is owned by the trust. Therefore, the successor trustee can access the belongings and delegate appropriately.

Joint Ownership

This option is targeted toward couples, married or not. Joint ownership (meaning equal shares) of property such as home, estate, vehicles, etc. automatically has “right of survivorship” meaning the survivor of the joint ownership becomes the sole owner at the time of death. This avoids a probate.

“Payable-On-Death” Bank Account Designation

By making a simple “payable-on-death” designation to a savings or checking account at your bank allows a beneficiary to collect the funds at the time of your death. This does not hinder your access to the bank while you are alive.

Register “Transfer-On-Death” For Securities

If you own stocks or bonds, you can delegate a “transfer-on-death” through a simple form submission. Then, at your death, the account will be inherited by your named beneficiary. This is yet another way to guarantee your financial assets are going into the hands of your choice when you are no longer around to make these decisions.

Real Estate “Transfer-On-Death” Deeds

Delegating a beneficiary to your real estate deed is available in Washington as of June 2014. By selecting someone to accept the “transfer-on-death” deed allows the person to take responsibility of your estate only at the time of your death. It is possible to sell your property or revoke the deed at any time.

Vehicle “Transfer-On-Death” Registration

Vehicle registration is not transferrable at death in the State of Washington.

Again, this is just a sample of ways you can save your loved ones from going through the probate process after your death. For more information, you can contact  Lyons Sullivan.