Not only is it possible to have beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, annuities and retirement accounts, but recent changes have made it possible to create beneficiary designations for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds and in Ohio, real estate. The use of these beneficiary designations is an extremely easy and inexpensive way to avoid probate.
”Living Trusts have traditionally been an effective method of avoiding probate as well.
Typically, the living trust would be established during lifetime and assets transferred to the trust. The trust would provide that the owner (transferor) would still maintain the use and control of the assets during his or her lifetime. However, because the trust is the owner of the assets and not the deceased individual, they are not “probate assets”. Hence, these assets “avoid probate”.
For many years, the Living Trust was the only effective manner to avoid probate. However, as a result of changes in the law liberalizing the use of beneficiary designations, the use of these beneficiary designations can be an inexpensive and simple way to avoid probate. However, the Living Trust can provide an additional benefit besides the benefit of “avoiding probate”. If probably drafted, the Living Trust can provide protection of the assets from the claims of various creditors. It can also provide the protection of the assets for the next generation from claims of creditors, divorces and other potential attachments.
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