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Keeping Your Money out Of the Probate Process

Butler Law March 26, 2020

People in South Carolina work hard for what they earn, and some even take steps to invest their earnings in accounts that accumulate interest. Over time, these accounts can become very valuable. People may want the money in these accounts to go to a specific heir. However, is there any way to keep these accounts from being subject to the probate process once the account holder dies?

If a financial account has a designated beneficiary, it is possible that it can bypass probate. This is because funds in accounts with a beneficiary are released straight to the beneficiary, rather than being part of the deceased’s estate. The following are some examples of financial accounts that can achieve this goal.

One account is the payable on death (POD) account. These are accounts that have instructions on who is the named beneficiary to the account. A bank account, for example, can be a POD account if the applicable forms are filled out.

Certain retirement accounts, such as an IRA or a 401(k), can also have a beneficiary named to them and thus will bypass probate. While beneficiaries to such accounts can be anyone, it should be noted that if you are married, your partner may have an inherit right to a portion of the account assets, if not the entire account.

Finally, there are transfer on death registrations. In some states, a person who holds certain securities or even vehicles can sign a registration statement. In this statement a beneficiary will be named, and the asset will be transferred to that beneficiary and bypass probate.

Many in Myrtle Beach will want to take advantage of the ability to designate beneficiaries to certain financial accounts, so that the funds in these accounts will not be part of the probated estate. Probate can be a lengthy process, so ensuring that the proper steps to bypass probate when possible are taken can save your heirs from additional grief, as well as give you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed.