How Can An Effective Estate Plan Help Me Avoid Probate?

After a loved one's death, their estate passes into Illinois' probate system to pay outstanding debts and distribute assets. Probate can be a long, complex process that many families would like to avoid altogether.

Howard & Hardyman LLP creates comprehensive estate plans for Rockford families who are looking to secure assets and bypass probate. We utilize key estate planning strategies that allow you to designate who will receive your assets in a private, cost-effective manner.

If you are interested in creating an estate plan that avoids probate, call our experienced lawyers at 815-516-1549 to discuss your options.

Common Tactics To Avoid Probate

There is no single method to bypass probate. Your family's circumstances are unique, and should be individually assessed to develop a strategy that is the most beneficial given your situation. Below are a few of the most common strategies that we utilize to circumvent probate:

  • Revocable living trusts: If you establish a living trust, you transfer property ownership to a trust and become the designated trustee. After death, the property is transferred to beneficiaries named in the trust.
  • Joint tenancy: You can establish joint tenancy with a spouse or other designated individual. After death, the other tenant automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.
  • Designating a beneficiary: You may name a beneficiary with a transfer on death (TOD) designation for securities, motor vehicles and house deeds. You may also create a payable on death (POD) for bank accounts. There are certain restrictions for each of these designations. Our attorneys can walk you through the process to ensure that it is properly executed.
  • Simplified process for small estates: In certain situations, you can use an affidavit to streamline the regular probate process. If you qualify, the estate's assets can be distributed directly by the executor without formal probate.

Contact Us For Strategic Estate Planning

Our attorneys know that your family has unique estate planning goals and will work closely with you to develop a personalized estate plan that meets your needs. We can recommend and implement strategic trusts, a secure will and guardianships to maximize your family's security. Call us at 815-516-1549 to discuss your estate plan, or contact us online. We have over 70 years of combined experience to help you navigate even the most complex concerns.