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Ways to reduce the complexity of probating wills

Thinking about one's inevitable demise isn't fun, but making plans for enriching one's heirs and other beneficiaries at least brings some comfort. Wills are the most common way to distribute assets after death in British Columbia, but there are other ways to do so. In fact, with careful estate planning, the complexity of probate could be greatly reduced, and that is also a nice gift to pass along.

Life insurance is a simple, but frequently overlooked method for passing along assets. Instead of adding to the asset pool, life insurance can be passed directly to a beneficiary named on the policy. Likewise, registered accounts, such as RRSPs and TFSAs, can be designated to pay out to a beneficiary of one's choosing, thus avoiding probate.

Some assets, like bank accounts and real property, can be owned jointly. By naming a co-owner, the asset will pass directly to that person after the testator passes away and won't go through probate. Before doing so, however, it may be wise to consider whether or not naming one beneficiary and excluding another might cause conflict. There may also be tax considerations in the event of any capital gains. A professional can advise on joint ownership.

These are just a few of the many ways, other than wills, a person can simplify the distribution of his or estate. All aspects of estate planning require care and forethought, and a professional touch can go a long way toward achieving the testator's goals. Using the services of a British Columbia lawyer for this most important of processes is always a good idea.

Source: wikihow.com, "How to Avoid Probate in Canada", Accessed on March 6, 2017

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