Using transfer on death to bypass probate

North Carolina residents might wonder how they can arrange their estates to avoid probate. One man named his daughter as a beneficiary on investments and left her his car and home in his will. He wondered if there might be a better way of doing this.

While it is possible to leave these types of assets to a person in a will, another way to do it is with a transfer on death deed or transfer on death title. The former would be for the house and the latter for the car. This would mean that the property would not have to go through probate and would instead pass directly to the man's daughter without delay. Another advantage of TOD is that unlike making someone a joint owner of an asset, the other person's ownership only happens at death.

In many states, including North Carolina, it may also be possible to pass a small estate on without going through probate. A person may want to talk to an attorney about this procedure.

If a person does have a will, it is important to keep in mind that beneficiary designations on assets such as retirement accounts override what is written in the will. Therefore, when people update a will, it may also be necessary to look back at older beneficiary designations and revise those as well. People with smaller estates might also want to look into a trust. Trusts are not just for wealthy families, and they can perform a variety of functions. For example, they can be used to make sure that a beneficiary only gets distributions at certain times or at the discretion of a trustee. People who are concerned about who to name as an executor or trustee might want to talk to an attorney about trust and probate administration and what that person's duties would be.

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