Non-probate Transfers

Due in part to the expenses and complications of probate, wealth has increasingly flowed from one generation to the next through many available non-probate transfers. A non-probate transfer allows an asset to be passed from a decedent to designated persons without ever being part of the probate estate.

There are multiple means to pass assets in a non-probate transfer. Some of the most common are: inter vivos trusts (trusts that go into effect during the trustor’s lifetime as well as after); a beneficiary designation in a pension account, life insurance policy or “payable on death” account with a bank or mutual fund.

There can be significant advantages to utilizing non-probate transfers. In addition to saving time and money avoiding probate, using a non-probate transfer can often place those assets out of the reach of potential estate creditors. Also, each of these different non-probate instruments have varying tax consequences that are worth investigating before deciding if one meets your estate planning needs.


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