You can bypass the probate process using a variety of legal methods (called “will substitutes”) when making a gift to the United Church of God or another cause you support.
Benefits of will substitutes
- These are designed to be easy to set up and modify. Most allow simple transfers of ownership, and you can easily name or change beneficiaries as your life situation changes.
- They avoid probate, which usually reduces fees and allows for a quicker distribution.
- They may allow you to reduce your overall estate taxes.
- Most providers of these products will help you through the setup process and assist with changes and disbursements.
Common types of will substitutes
- Bank “Payable-on-Death” or “In Trust For” accounts
- Investment Transfer-on-Death (TOD) accounts
- Real Estate Trusts
- Life insurance or annuity contracts
- Naming beneficiaries on retirement plans (such as 401k, 403b, 457, IRA and SEP)
- Deeds of Title (with rights of survivorship) whereby a co-owner becomes sole owner on your death might include:
- Joint tenancy
- Tenants by Entirety
- Community property
As you can tell, estate matters can be complicated. Some will substitutes may have setup costs or need legal wording that requires professional assistance.