It is common practice to always name at least two owners on any asset. When one owner dies, the asset passes to the surviving owner and probate court can be avoided.
Legal Strategies, P.C. Blog
Many clients like to plan their estate by making sure there are always a least two owners on a piece of real estate. That way, when one owner dies, there is no need to go through the probate court to have the property transferred; it simply passes to the survivor.
Most people have at least one asset that includes a beneficiary designation (i.e, a life insurance policy, 401(k), IRA, annuity, etc.) It is important to remember that a beneficiary designation is the “trump card” and will overrule your will, your trust, or any other document that tries to direct to whom these funds are paid at the time of your death.
It is not uncommon for people to plan their estates in order to avoid probate using tactics such as joint ownership and beneficiary designations. However, it is common for people to forget to update old stock certificates for shares that were purchased long ago.
If you’ve had a family member die recently, you may have been surprised by how quickly you started receiving phone calls from bill collectors. According to a recent New York Times story, some debt collectors are specially trained in all five stages of grief and are paid a commission to collect debts from grieving family members.
If you have ever been the conservator for an older parent, you may have wondered how you can prevent that parent from obtaining a credit card without your knowledge. Or you may just have wondered about ways to protect that person, or even yourself, from identity theft.
The Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors recently published an excellent article explaining the use of “Lady Bird” deeds.
Deciding who should take charge of your affairs after you are gone can be very tricky. Parents often just list all of their kids to be co-representatives, but that can result in deadlocks and disagreements. Simply listing the kids, in their birth order, can also be a problem and can create resentment between the children.