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How can you avoid high probate costs?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Probate

When a resident of South Carolina dies without a will, their estate goes through probate. The process can be tedious and drawn out, leaving the person’s loved ones waiting for their inheritance. There are ways to avoid the high costs of probate, however.

Understanding Probate

Probate occurs with or without a will, but it’s longer when a person dies without a will. The court takes over by going through all of the person’s assets and property and performing an inventory. With no will, the decedent’s surviving spouse and children receive the property.

Assets are frozen until the court determines how everything should be divided. The decedent’s loved ones are responsible for paying various probate fees, which is burdensome. As a result, it’s best to have a Will to avoid this situation.

How to avoid probate costs

While it’s impossible to completely avoid probate, there are things a person can do to ease the process for their beneficiaries. Creating a living trust and holding assets to be passed down upon their death is one of the best. Anything held within the trust is not subject to probate, so it can quickly transfer to the beneficiaries.

Keep up on your beneficiary designations for all financial accounts such as bank accounts, IRA or 401(k) and life insurance policies. If your primary beneficiary outlives you, they inherit the funds from these accounts. However, name a contingent beneficiary to be safe if the first choice dies before you. These accounts can skip probate with beneficiaries named.

Co-owning property with the right of survivorship can help it avoid probate. Upon your death, it automatically transfers to your co-owner. Another option is a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed to your tangible property.

These options for avoiding hefty probate costs can give you and your family peace of mind.