Your Knowledgeable North Georgia Law Firm

Your Knowledgeable North Georgia Law Firm

3 ways people keep their assets out of probate court in Georgia

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Probate

Estate planning requires that people think carefully about what property they have and who they would like to inherit those assets when they die. Someone’s financial circumstances and their closest relationships typically have a very strong influence on how their estate plan is constructed.

Every individual testator has their own priorities and goals, but there are certain wishes shared by many people. One of the more common desires is to keep as much property as possible out of the Georgia probate courts. How do testators avoid having specific resources pass through the courts after their death?

They create a trust

Creating and funding a trust can be a very effective means of keeping certain assets out of probate court. The assets in a trust do not belong directly to the testator anymore, which means they will not become part of the estate when someone dies and will therefore remain separate from probated assets. Many people choose to prioritize keeping particularly large assets, like real estate or business holdings, out of probate court by moving them to a trust.

They draft transfer-on-death designations

It is possible for people to arrange to have specific financial accounts transferred to beneficiaries directly instead of passing through probate court when someone dies. Individual account holders can file transfer-on-death paperwork with their financial institutions that can keep their most valuable accounts out of probate court. The beneficiaries can present identification and a death certificate to the financial institution to become the new owner of the accounts after someone dies.

They make strategic gifts

One of the best ways to structure a legacy involves arranging for people to receive certain property while the testator is still alive. The use of carefully planned gifts is an effective means of reducing what assets will go through the Georgia probate courts when someone dies. This approach has the added benefit of allowing the testator to witness people’s enjoyment of their inheritance.

There are options available to help people achieve all sorts of estate planning goals, including minimizing the amount of probate oversight required. Thinking carefully about the legacy one hopes to leave can help people make the right estate planning choices for their unique circumstances.