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The Illinois small estate affidavit allows some heirs to process smaller estates without probate, but any estate in which probate assets exceed $100,000.00 must go through the formal probate process. The probate process can be long, costly, and challenging, so it is not uncommon for many people to want to do everything they can to avoid having to deal with probate.
The good news for most people is that Illinois allows a number of ways for people to avoid probate by the way they transfer assets to their heirs. When people do not designate beneficiaries on their insurance policies, pensions, or retirement plans, then the assets have to be distributed according to state intestacy laws.
People who want to help their family members avoid probate can take the following steps:
Set up a Revocable Living Trust — With a living trust, assets will be transferred during a person’s lifetime so when they die, the trust continues and assets will not need to be probated.
Establish Joint Ownership — When a person dies, any jointly owned property will pass to a surviving owner. This is an easy way to avoid probate and will not require extra paperwork. Under Illinois’ Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship, two people co-own property in equal shares and one person dying means the other person automatically becomes the property owner, even without a will.
Name Beneficiaries on All Accounts — Every retirement account and insurance policy you have should also have a named beneficiary because the assets will automatically transfer to a named beneficiary instead of having to be probated.
Create Payable-on-Death Designations on Bank Accounts — Illinois allows people to add a payable-on-death (POD) designations to their bank accounts so they still control all the money in the account but upon death, a beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank without having to go through probate.
Transfer-on-Death Registration — When it comes to stocks and bonds or motor vehicles, you can register for transfer-on-death (TOD) and avoid probate for beneficiaries.
Do you need help with a possible probate matter in Illinois? The Hinsdale probate lawyers at Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio will be able to help you figure out the most cost-effective ways of addressing your issues and helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Our firm knows how confusing probate can be for most people, and we will work closely with you, so you do not have to handle anything by yourself. Call 630-920-8855 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.