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What types of assets don't have to go through probate?

The time immediately following the loss of a loved one can be very difficult. Oftentimes the last thing anyone wants to do after such a loss is to care for legal concerns while also attempting to grieve and process. Because of this, some may want to relocate some of their assets into certain types of assets in order to reduce the amount of time their loved ones will have to spend in probate court following their death.

In the state of Ohio, many county courts have their own rules regarding probate litigations, but there are usually a handful of assets that are not required to go through probate, regardless of individual court rules. These include,

Revocable Trusts

There are many types of trusts, but they are all a legal agreement between a trustmaker, a trustee, and the beneficiary/beneficiaries. With revocable trusts, the trustee is responsible for managing the trust and the assets therein and the beneficiaries are those who receive the benefits of the trust. A revocable trust (as opposed to an irrevocable trust, which is a separate thing) can be altered or dissolved at any time whereas an irrevocable trust cannot be altered and practically lasts forever. If used with the intention of avoiding probate, revocable trusts are often used in correlation with survivorship life insurance.

Right of Survivorship or Tenancy By the Entirety

These are normally used in regard to Real Estate. Both function in almost the exact same fashion as joint tenancy. The difference, however, is that Tenancy By the Entirety is only available to married couples. If a married couple does hold their property in TBE, then upon the death of one tenant, all property held by both holders passes into the possession of the survivor.

Payable/Transfer on Death accounts

Some bank accounts will have clauses in them that specify that the account is payable on death or transferable on death. As long as the account holder is alive, the person listed as the inheritor of the account has no access to it. This allows the account holder to use and manage the resources within the account or to name any other beneficiaries up until their death.

Probate litigation can be beneficial for many reasons, but if you decide that the benefits of avoiding it outweigh the potential advantages, the aforementioned methods will allow you to do so. You can pursue these options on your own, but it may be more advantageous to consult a legal profession so as to ensure all actions are taken in accordance with the law.

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