Many Marylanders may have heard that the probate process in our state’s courts is both time-consumer and expensive.
As such, they may be looking for ways to pass property down to their loved ones without having to through the probate courts.
A living trust may be a good option for avoiding probate
People commonly use revocable living trusts to avoid probate, or, at a minimum, make it as simple as possible.
A revocable living trust is a document that a person, or couple, creates while they are still alive.
After creating the legal document, which establishes a separate legal entity called a trust, they then transfer all of the property they wish to pass on to their heirs into the name of the trust.
The trust is called revocable because the person who created it can revoke, or un-do, it at any time so long as they are alive and legally competent to do so.
After the founders of the trust die, the property in the trust will automatically pass down to their loved ones as directed in the trust documents. In theory, no probate is necessary if all the family’s property is in the trust.
There are other ways to hand down property outside of probate
One downside to a trust is that it cost more money and time up front to set up. Furthermore, trusts are not always the best option for a family.
The law allows people to use other devices, outside the probate process, to pass down property. Jointly held real estate with survivorship and joint bank accounts, for example, are good ways to hand property to a spouse or to their children almost immediately.
Retirement plans and life insurance policies are other ways to transfer wealth to loved ones without having to go through probate.