The probate process in most states is long, complicated and expensive, but in the Garden State it is quick and affordable. In fact, if everything goes perfectly, probate can be over in a matter of minutes.
How does the probate process work?
The state uses a surrogate instead of a judge. Appearing in court for probate is as simple as going to the surrogate’s office. The surrogate will check to see if the will is valid and then name the executor. The executor will then be responsible for the proper distribution of assets among your designated beneficiaries. Your will should be able to speak for itself for the probate process to be faster, so you must make sure it is comprehensive and valid.
Overturning a will would require the interested party to file a caveat to prevent the surrogate from taking the will to probate. It rarely happens because the probate process is enough to validate the will.
I still want my family to avoid probate
If you still want your family to avoid probate, the easiest way is for you and your spouse to have joint ownership of all your assets. If your spouse has joint ownership with rights to survivorship, then you both own equal shares of the property. When one spouse passes, the entire estate goes to the living spouse with or without a will.
It would also help to assign beneficiaries to all bank accounts, life insurance policies and retirement accounts and, in the absence of a will, create a revocable trust. A revocable trust is a living trust that allows you to keep your rights to your assets while you are alive. Upon death, the trustee will have control of the assets and abide by all the stipulations in the trust document.
When it comes to estate planning, there are so many ways you can protect your family’s rights to your property and assets. Whatever you decide, be sure it is the best for everyone involved.