avoid probate, the spouses should establish revocable trusts and transfer their
property to the trusts during their lifetime.
Estate planning may seem easy
between spouses, but beware of the pitfalls of probate. The law tends to put a number of things on autopilot, so
loving spouses with few other goals or concerns might just let things run their
course … and probate is lurking around the estate planning corner.
If you want to keep your estate
out of the court, then there are certain steps you need to take and certain
traps you need to avoid. This is discussed in the final installment of a
three-part series for married couples in Forbes
titled “Estate Plan Funding for Spouses.”
Indeed, probate truly is a court
proceeding which can be chock full of court rules, court timelines, and time
spent idling in the clerk’s office. Any plan that lets the courts pick up the
pieces of your estate plan falls into that rut. In addition, if your estate
attracts any detractors or encounters other complications, then it is likely to
stay there for some time. As a result, many people seek to have their estate
skip straight on past those dark court corridors.
As pointed out in the original
article, and the previous ones in the series, revocable trusts are powerful
tools even for spouses that fall well below certain estate taxation thresholds.
However, there are other means to pull one asset or another away from the
The original article has some
specific suggestions worth consideration. If nothing else, it’s worth a read to
see just how many ways there are to plan for certain assets and various little
steps to take that may provide big rewards.
Reference: Forbes (May
27, 2013) “Estate Plan Funding for Spouses”