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How to avoid probate in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2022 | Estate Planning

There are many documents you can include in an estate plan.

If you want to ensure your family does not have to endure the lengthy and costly probate process, consider including these components.

Bank account designations

Pennsylvania allows you to designate a payable-on-death beneficiary who will take ownership of your bank accounts, including checking and savings accounts, upon your death. While you are alive, they have no access to the accounts.

Securities registration

If you have securities, such as stocks and bonds, you can register a transfer-on-death designation so the beneficiary automatically receives the contents of the account or takes over the account without going through probate.

Living trust

A living trust does something a will cannot do, which is to bypass the probate process. You can name beneficiaries for all your assets in a will or trust. However, if you use a will, the law requires validation through probate before distributing everything to your loved ones. The more assets you have, the more complex the process can become, and people can contest it.

A living trust allows you to control the trust while you are alive and name a trustee to take over when you die. The successor trustee will retain control, and your trust will not go through probate before distribution.

Joint ownership

If you own property jointly with anyone, the state allows the property or business to pass directly to the other owner when you pass away.

Every estate plan is different, and the process is not just for the wealthy. It is about carrying out your wishes properly.