Imagine losing your home or assets to probate, the court process that reassigns assets after death. It’s a risky area where creditor claims can attach, and our expert guests Britton Begley and Greg McIntyre from McIntyre Oda Law are here to shed light on how to avoid this. We kick off the conversation with a clear explanation of probate and its potential risks, including the significant cost and time implications.
But it's not all doom and gloom, as Britton and Greg also share three practical strategies to circumvent probate. We unpack the concept of a living trust and discover the protection a ladybird deed can offer your home. Additionally, we learn the importance of designating a beneficiary for assets such as bank accounts and life insurance. Be warned though; certain accounts can still be sucked into probate to satisfy claims. For a candid and insightful conversation, join us and learn how to protect your assets and secure your family's future.
This morning we're talking avoiding probate with attorneys Britton Begley and Greg McIntyre from McIntyre Oda Law, and let's start with this too, because I really believe that people don't understand what probate is. So can you level the plan, Phil? What is probate?Speaker 2:
Great. Probate is a court process by which a will is submitted to the court so that an executor can apply and be appointed by the court and pull your assets through probate to retitle them to your heirs in your will. That's what probate is. Probate is also a dangerous place where claims can attach creditor claims, visa, mastercard or if you've had a long-term care stay and used to benefit like long-term care Medicaid to pay for that stay, then that's where that claim will attach and that's where many people lose their homes as they go through probate or many families lose assets. Is probate costly? Probate can be costly and probate can be time-consuming. It can take a long time to probate a will.Speaker 1:
Okay, so I know we want to talk about the three ways to avoid probate, so let's start with the very first one. Britton, it is a living trust.Speaker 3:
So anything you put into a living trust avoids probate as long as there's beneficiaries on that trust. So in a trust you name who gets what whenever you pass away and you have to put the assets into the trust for the trust to control what happens. But if you do it you do it correctly, with a good attorney to guide you. Anything that you do put in the trust, hopefully all of your assets will avoid probate and go immediately to the beneficiaries upon your death and avoid that very dangerous process of probate.Speaker 1:
Okay, so once you've done that very first step, what's the second step?Speaker 2:
Well, I would just say another important thing could be a ladybird deed. A ladybird deed is a deed that can be placed on your home that keeps you in charge of your home, or you and your spouse in charge of your home for the rest of your life, automatically passes it to say the children, if that's who you want it to go to on the deed. And it's a specialized type of deed that is not subject to a claims recovery from a long-term care benefit and doesn't affect your ability to get that benefit when we look at a look back period from the date you've applied for that benefit, for a long-term care benefit. You know I was thinking that you can say the home, eugene.Speaker 1:
Okay, so I was thinking when you talked about homes and houses, I thought that land and houses automatically pass, that they automatically avoid probate. But that's not the case.Speaker 2:
That is not the case Title has to pass through either probate or a state administration, probate being with a will, a state administration being a similar process at the courthouse if you don't have a will.Speaker 3:
Okay, the final one is you said designated a beneficiary, that's right, yeah, so if you designate a beneficiary on, like a bank account, life insurance, things like that, that's an easy way to make sure that those funds or you know whatever it is securities in an account avoid probate. But I will warn you that there's some things like a transferable on death account that can avoid probate but will still be brought within probate to satisfy claims. So you know, just because you have beneficiaries on your accounts doesn't mean that you're safe. You need to sit down with an attorney and structure that correctly, because it is a dangerous process and creditors have a lot more rights than you may realize to go after things after someone has passed away.Speaker 1:
And Greg before we go, who needs this type of service? Everyone.Speaker 2:
Our clients want to protect assets, pass them to the next generation and have long-term care options if something happens and I would invite anyone out there to sit down with myself or one of our attorneys and let's talk about your goals. If it's probate avoidance, long-term care let's talk about how you can achieve those goals. I would offer a free consult. You can take advantage of that consult by calling 1-888-999-6600 or book online at mclderlawcom.Speaker 1:
McElderlawcom. Is that website that you can go ahead and check out? Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Thank you, eugene, no doubt. Please don't wait till it's too late.Speaker 3:
Come back and tie your elder law.