AVOIDING PROBATE IN MISSOURI THE EASY WAY
Avoiding probate in Missouri the easy way is the subject of this article. First, as a reminder, probate lawyer Missouri often, but not always, can assist a person to avoid probate through proper estate planning, including the drafting of a will and/or a living trust, healthcare powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney.
However, since the focus of this article is avoiding probate in Missouri the easy way is the point of this article, here are four tips:
TIP #1 CREATE AND RECORD A BENEFICIARY DEED FOR YOUR MISSOURI HOME
Missouri makes it easy to avoid probate with your home with the use of what is known as a beneficiary deed. This is a document that an estate planning attorney O’Fallon can draft for you that acts essentially like a life insurance beneficiary designation for your home. The beneficiary deed states who the owners of the property are (the Grantors) and who will receive the property when the owners die (the Grantees).
The beneficiary deed is a generally low cost and simple solution to avoid probate with your home. Just remember that the document must be notarized and must be filed before the death of the owners. Overall, the Missouri beneficiary deed is a very simple and effective way to keep your home out of probate when you pass.
TIP #2 CREATE PAYABLE ON DEATH BENEFICIARIES FOR YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS
Missouri also allows a bank account owner to name a payable on death (“POD”) beneficiary for the account. Say Mom is a widow and has two sons whom she wants to get the proceeds of her account when she passes away. With a simple trip to the bank, she can name a POD beneficiary Missouri naming her sons. This merely requires the completion of some paperwork at a branch location.
TIP #3 TRANSFER ON DEATH BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS FOR A CAR
One of the peskiest assets in the usual Missouri probate is the deceased’s vehicle(s). That’s because many people in Missouri don’t realize they can easily add a transfer on death (“TOD”) beneficiary for their vehicle. In most cases, a trip to the DMV with your vehicle title(s), the payment of a small fee and the listing of the beneficiaries is all that needs to be done. It’s a quick and effective way to avoid probate with your car in Missouri.
TIP #4 LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS
A life insurance policy is a common asset owned by a person when they pass away. Life insurance, of course, allows for the naming of a beneficiary for the policy proceeds. However, deeper planning can be done by naming a contingent beneficiary. Let’s say Husband and Wife each have a policy and two grown children. The primary beneficiary of each policy is normally the non-insured spouse. But what if Husband dies but is predeceased by Wife? By default, the beneficiary of the policy is their estate, meaning the life insurance proceeds will have to go through probate in St. Charles County.
A contingent beneficiary would leave everything to the two grown children, and, in the process, avoiding probate completely.
It should be noted that this kind of beneficiary estate planning is not for everyone, especially if you have younger children or a blended family. However, it works well for people with fairly straightforward assets and family circumstances.