How To Avoid Probate in Missouri
The probate process can be lengthy and costly. Fully supervised probate cases can be expected to last for months or years. People should try to avoid probate to protect their families before they pass away. Missouri offers several ways for you to avoid probate, including the following:
- Creating a living trust and funding it with your assets
- Naming the people who you want to receive your home as joint owners with rights of survivorship
- Creating a transfer-on-death or beneficiary deed for your real property
- Adding a payable-on-death designation for all of your bank accounts
- Registering your stocks and bonds in transfer-on-death form
- Adding transfer-on-death designations to all of the titles of your vehicles
The probate administration lawyers at Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP can offer help in all matters of estate planning, including avoiding probate.
1. Living Trust
One way to avoid probate is by creating a living trust. Living trusts are legal documents that are created during the grantors’ lifetimes. They establish a fiduciary relationship between the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries.
- The grantor is the person who is creating the trust
- The trustee is the person who will administer the trust
- The beneficiaries are the people who will receive benefits or assets from the trust.
In many cases, the grantors will choose to serve as the trustees of their trusts while they are alive so that they can manage the trust assets on their own. If you choose to do this, you need to name a successor trustee who can take over after you pass away. You must transfer the property that you own to the trust to avoid the probate process. Your successor trustee will then be allowed to transfer the assets that are held in trust directly to your beneficiaries without going through the probate process. For help with this process, contact Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP
2. Joint Ownership With Right of Survivorship
If the deed to your home or other real property has joint ownership with the right of survivorship, your real property will pass directly to the joint owner without having to go through probate. In addition to real property, other types of jointly owned will likewise pass directly to the joint owner, including vehicles, boats, stocks, bonds, and others.
3. Payable-on-death and transfer-on-death designations
The state of Missouri also allows you to add payable-on-death designations to your bank accounts. If you own stocks and bonds, you can also register them in transfer-on-death form.
Finally, if you do not want to add a joint owner to your home or vehicles but want them to avoid probate, you are allowed to change the deed or titles to include transfer-on-death designations. Adding these designations will not affect your property rights in the present, and the ownership interest of the beneficiaries will not go into effect until after your death.