Estate planning can be as elaborate or as simple as you need.
However, ensuring your plan allows your family to avoid probate will allow them to bypass court costs and lengthy delays. Consider the ways Massachusetts law allows you to skip the probate process.
Create a living trust
A trust is similar to a will in that it allows you to name beneficiaries for your assets. However, a trust also allows you to choose a trustee, who will oversee the distribution of assets after you pass. Having a living trust means the assets remain in a trust that you control and can change while you are still alive. Control does not transfer to the successor trustee until after you pass.
One of the benefits of a trust is that it bypasses probate, allowing the immediate distribution of assets without a validation period. Additionally, no one can contest the terms of a trust.
Own property jointly
All property owned jointly with someone transfers to the other owner upon your death. Massachusetts recognizes joint tenancy for everything from real estate to bank accounts.
Designate beneficiaries for accounts
You can also designate a payable-on-death beneficiary for your savings accounts and certificates of deposit to ensure they go directly to the beneficiary. If you own stocks and bonds, you can register a transfer-on-death to ensure they go directly to the beneficiary when you die.
Estate planning is not just for people with many assets. It is the best way to ensure your wishes come to fruition after your death.