Wills and Estates: How to Avoid Probate

Law Blog

Probate is the official term for the process of legally 'proving' a will. A probate court is responsible for the administration of a will. After you die, your deceased estate will go into probate if the court is needed to act as administrator of your will. It may also go into probate if you did not make a will, in which case the court will be called upon to administer your estate as they see fit. 

Probate is often a long and drawn out process and can incur a number of complex fees and taxes. You may wish to spare your nearest and dearest the complication of probate after your death. Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent your estate going into probate. 

Asset transfers 

A good way to avoid probate is to transfer as many assets as possible before your death. Clearly, you won't be able to make over everything to your family, but any large bequests you are planning to make, such as leaving commercial or residential property, can be made before your death. Transferring ownership in writing will save the recipients of your will time and money and allow them to avoid a probate court. 


A good way to avoid probate is to register joint ownership of properties. In cases of joint ownership, the law ensures that the survivor is given sole ownership of the asset if one party dies. This means your relative, partner or friend will automatically be the registered owner of your property on your death, without having to go through any complex legal procedures. The title deeds will be transferred to him/ her as a matter of course. 

Pay on Death

Opening a joint bank account is a good way to ensure that your legatees will have immediate access to any money you leave on your death. However, this can be problematic and potentially open to abuse. Instead, some banks offer a POD, 'pay on death', option on their accounts. This allows you to select an individual who will be paid your money in the event of your death. These schemes ensure that the designated individual does not have access to your money whilst you are still alive but allows them automatic access to funds on your death. 

Following these steps can help to reduce stress and legal complications after your death. It is also advisable to contact a legal professional who can assist you in producing a clear and thorough will and help you to keep it updated in the event of any changes in your circumstances. 


29 August 2016

Unknown laws you might not know

I love all of those quirky laws that are still on the law book. It's a little hobby of mine to track down some of those laws and try and work out if there was a story behind how they got on the books. I've been doing it for 14 years and have accumulated a lot of material that I have researched. I thought it would be fun to start a blog with some of these stories to share with other people who like to know a little more about law and about history. I hope you enjoy my site.