Probate is the legal process by which property and property rights are transferred from a decedent to others. For many years, the probate system has been dominated and controlled by lawyers and judges. The probate statutes, laws, and procedures have become outdated and out of step with the reality of our modern society. This is one of the primary reasons that motivates people to avoid probate. Many people in this country have become disenchanted with the entire probate process and the mystique that enshrouds it. Americans have been cast into a cloud of darkness as to how to avoid the abuses and scandals of the probate system so frequently reported by the press.
Plans For Avoiding Probate
There are several good plans for avoiding probate; however, the plan that is simple, easy, and inexpensive is the revocable living trust. It is so simple and easy to understand and so easy to use that many people who discover it wonder why it is still unknown to so many people. It is as easy to prepare a revocable living trust as it is a will. This trust involves an agreement by which one party, the grantor, transfers property to a trustee to hold for the benefit of another, and is created during the lifetime of the grantor. The grantor retains the right to revoke the trust, change its terms, or regain possession of the trust property. This principle of law is the basis upon which many people avoid all probate processes. Typically, a person can create a revocable living trust in which he is co-trustee with another person—for example, an adult child or partner—to hold and manage the estate. Upon the death of the grantor, there is no probate of the trust property. It is that simple.
The main characteristics of this kind of agreement are that:
- You can cancel it at any time during your life, for any reason, or for no reason
- You retain complete control of your assets.
- You can receive all benefits and income
- There are no probate proceedings, no probate delays, no probate expenses, no probate confusion, or intimidation by lawyers.
- • Your beneficiaries can receive the property immediately.
- There is no publicity and no court records or other public proceedings.
- It is a completely private matter. You owe it to yourself and your family to explore this plan.