For some estates, spending a little money now to avoid probate at death can create a substantial savings for the family. Typical techniques used to avoid probate include Revocable Living Trusts, Jointly Owned Accounts and Payable-on-Death designations on bank accounts and stock accounts.
One technique available in some states to avoid probate is a Transfer-on-Death Deed for real estate. For example, M.S. 507.071 is the Minnesota State statute that spells out how to draft a valid Transfer-on-Death deed for Minnesota property. This statute allows you to own a Minnesota plot of land with a deed that states at your death the ownership of the land immediately transfers into the name of another person or into a trust. Until death, the property remains in your name and under your control.
Pennsylvania has not yet adopted a Transfer-on-Death deed, so as of 2014/2015 for Philadelphia residents this is not an option.
Instead, to avoid probate in Philadelphia deeds can be placed in Joint Tenancy or into a Revocable Living Trust. The advantage of a Joint Tenancy is simplicity, but the negative is that during your lifetime you will have given the other person a part ownership in your property. A Revocable Living Trust avoids probate, is a bit more complex to implement, but has the advantage of leaving control over the property in your hands during your lifetime.
If you have questions about avoiding Probate in Philadelphia, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
Wills, Trusts and Estates, It’s all we do!
Peter Klenk, Esq