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There are effective ways to keep assets out of probate

Despite the bad press that it may sometimes receive, probate serves an important purpose for individuals who have passed away and who have left assets in their estates. In New Jersey and other parts of the country, however, many people have the opportunities to structure their assets in such ways to allow them to pass directly to beneficiaries instead of through the arduous process of probate. This blog post will look at a few of the types of assets that can avoid probate if they are properly organized.

Not every type of asset has to go through the probate process. Certain types of assets may be structured in such a way as to completely stand apart from assets and property that must undergo a probate review. For example, when a party jointly owns property with another individual who has the right of survivorship and one of the owners of the property dies, then the other owner will maintain ownership in the property through survivorship without the asset having to go through probate.

Additionally, certain accounts and investments may be set up so that they have designated beneficiaries established during the decedent's lifetime. Payable on death accounts, life insurance policies, and even some retirement accounts may recognize future beneficiaries during the decedent's lifetime and then have those assets directly transferred to the beneficiaries when the account's owner passes on.

Finally, individuals who fear that they may have large probated estates can always gift money and property to others during their lifetimes. Gifting is an effective way to reduce the overall size of one's estate, though individuals who wish to give substantial gifts should recognize that gifts can be taxed if they exceed a federally established annual limit.

These are only a few of the legal and effective ways that individuals can keep their estates out of probate. Probate is a useful method for distributing the assets of an estate, but not every estate has to be subjected to its rules. Those who are interested may speak with an estate planning attorney to learn more about how to keep their estates out of probate.

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