One common way to avoid probate of real estate after the owner dies is to hold the title to the property in joint names with rights of survivorship with children or other beneficiaries. This is accomplished by drafting a new deed adding the names of the children and certain legal terms and then recording the new deed.
Many people believe that they do not need an attorney to help them prepare and record the new deed. Instead, they think that a deed form, downloaded from the internet or obtained from a book, is easily filled out and recorded. But deeds are in fact legal documents that must comply with state law in order to be valid. In addition, in most states, property will not pass to the other owners listed in a deed without probate unless certain specific legal terms are used in the deed.
Whether you are a physician or not, you probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with liability. It’s not just medical malpractice claims either – employment related issues, careless business partners and employees, contractual obligations, and personal liabilities add to the risk assumed by a physician in private practice. Unfortunately, in our litigious society, these liability risks are not unique to physicians. Business owners, board members, real estate investors, and retirees need to protect themselves from a variety of liabilities too. Being proactive and implementing some proven liability planning strategies is a must for every business owner.
Below are three liability planning tips anyone – physicians and non-physicians alike – can use to protect their hard earned money.
Inheritance protection is often only considered if beneficiaries are considered unable to handle their inheritance on their own. However, if you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again. In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike.
Payable on Death accounts, or “POD accounts” for short, have become popular for avoiding probate. I have heard some people refer to POD accounts as the “poor-man’s” estate plan; I do not agree.
It’s a common belief that estate planning means death planning. However, planning for what happens after you die is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle. It is just as important to make a plan for what happens if you become mentally incapacitated.