Trusted Southern Ohio Attorneys

Trusts are not the only way to bypass probate in Ohio

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Estate Planning

You may have heard that the probate process in Hamilton can be a real hassle. There are many steps that must be taken in the probate process. This means probate can take months or even years to complete.

You may think that you must put your assets in a trust in order for your heirs to receive their inheritance without having to go through probate. Still, are there other ways to bypass probate? One option you may not have considered is designating certain assets as transfer-on-death assets.

Is a trust right for you?

Before we get into the reasons some people do not want a trust, it is important to emphasize that there is a multitude of types of trusts and many people find them to be an essential part of their estate plan. Trusts are generally useful and can be a beneficial addition to an estate plan, but they are not for everyone.

One reason you might want to specifically avoid an irrevocable trust is because you give up control of your assets. Your assets are permanently handed over to the trust and a third-party trustee now manages them instead of you. There are times when an irrevocable trust is the right estate planning vehicle for some, but this loss of control is not for everyone.

Trusts can be complex, and they are absolutely not a do-it-yourself endeavor. Of course, any part of your estate plan should be handled by a professional, but this is especially true of trusts. Some people, however, want their estate plan to be simple instead of complex.

Transfer-on-death assets

If you want to avoid executing a trust, you may want to learn more about transfer-on-death assets.

Financial accounts can be designated as a transfer-on-death account. You will select a beneficiary to this account. Then when you pass away, the funds in the account go directly to the beneficiary without having to go through probate.

Real estate that you own with someone else can also be designated as a transfer-on-death asset if the real estate is titled as “joint and survivorship.”

If your real estate is titled as “joint and survivorship” and you have also designated it as a transfer-on-death asset with a named beneficiary, when you die, the real estate first goes to the surviving owner. When the surviving owner dies, the real estate then passes on to the designated beneficiary without having to go through probate.

The transfer-on-death designation affidavit

In Ohio, if you want to designate an asset as a transfer-on-death asset, you must execute a transfer-on-death designation affidavit. This affidavit serves as proof of your intention to pass the asset onto the beneficiary.

Transfer-on-death designations can be modified or revoked during your lifetime. But if you do so, you must execute and record a new transfer-on-death designation affidavit.

Trusts and transfer-on-death assets are good estate planning tools

There are a variety of ways to bypass probate. Trusts bypass probate as do transfer-on-death assets. Often, people find one or both of these tools to be an important part of their estate plan.