Wills are excellent tools for leaving inheritances for heirs, but they are not always the fastest or even most effective method. Depending on the asset, it may be possible to pass it on to someone else without including it in a will or having it go through probate. Tennessee residents who are hoping to successfully avoid probate have several options at their disposal, including joint property ownership and gifting property before death.
Types of joint ownership
If a property is jointly owned with a right of survivorship, there is no need for it to go through probate. This is because upon one owner’s death, his or her interest in the property will immediately pass on to the other owner. Examples of joint ownership include:
- Joint tenancy with right of survivorship
- Tenancy by entirety
Giving away assets prior to one’s death can also be a solution for some people. This method is usually best applied to less valuable assets. Giving away a very valuable piece of property before death could lead to gift taxes, which would erase any potential benefits of avoiding probate. It is best to give this approach careful consideration though, as it would be unfortunate to give away a property that is later needed.
Probate is not necessarily a bad thing and is indeed necessary for verifying a deceased person’s will. However, it can be a costly and time-consuming process, and some people in Tennessee might prefer to skip the process altogether. This will require some forethought when it comes to the estate planning process, and some people may find it helpful to reach out for guidance.