If you own a home, then there is a very simple thing that you can do to make it so that your home will not have to go through probate after you pass away. Do not leap to do it though.
Many people are certain that they must avoid probate at all costs for their estates after they pass away. That is not always true. It depends on the size of an estate and the specifics of the probate process in your state of residence.
Whether it is true or false, the perception is an important one. The best way to know if probate will be burdensome for your estate, is to visit an estate planning attorney.
Some people don’t visit an estate planning attorney. However, they decide that their home is their most valuable asset and they put a child's name on the deed. This will make it, so the home does not have to go through probate after they pass away. It will automatically go to the child on the deed.
It works to avoid probate but it is almost always a very bad idea, as My Prime Time News discussed in "Deeds and Probate Avoidance."
The problem is that by putting a child's name on the deed, the home becomes an asset for the child. Any creditors the child has, can put a lien on the loan if the home is not under homestead or similar protection. Not to mention, you must now be assured of a good relationship with your child if you wish to change your residence in the future. The courts have many many examples of cases filed between parents, children and siblings due to arrangements of this sort.
It also has the potential for adverse capital gains tax consequences for the child, should the home be sold after you pass away. This is an example of the method of probate avoidance not being worth the potential costs.
A much better idea to avoid probate is to visit an estate planning attorney and ask about putting your home in a trust.
Reference: My Prime Time News (Jan. 29, 2018) "Deeds and Probate Avoidance."