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Tips for avoiding probate in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Estate Planning

Probate can be a lengthy and complex process that follows the passing of a loved one.

In Massachusetts, there are ways to navigate this legal procedure efficiently, ensuring a smoother transition of assets.

Establish a revocable living trust

Only a minority (46%) of Americans have a will much less a full estate plan that includes a living trust. This legal arrangement allows you to transfer your assets into the trust during your lifetime. It provides the distribution of these assets automatically upon your passing. The assets held in the trust do not go through the court-supervised probate process.

Joint ownership of property

If you jointly own property, such as a home, with the right of survivorship, when you pass away, your surviving owner automatically inherits your share. This transfer occurs without the need for probate.

Designate beneficiaries on financial accounts

Designate beneficiaries for your financial accounts, such as bank accounts and retirement plans. These assets will directly pass on to the designated individuals. Keep these beneficiary designations updated to reflect any life changes, such as marriages, divorces or births.

Utilize payable-on-death accounts

Payable-on-death arrangements allow you to name a beneficiary who will automatically inherit the funds in the account upon your passing. This is a simple and effective way to bypass probate for these assets.

Gift assets during your lifetime

You can also gradually transfer your assets to your heirs before you pass away. This reduces the overall value of your estate, minimizing the probate process. However, consider gift tax implications and consult with a financial advisor before gifting your assets.

As a Massachusetts resident, you can employ key strategies to streamline the distribution of your assets after you die.


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