For financial accounts there is a document that you can sign at the institution. This document is known as the POD or Paid on Death designation form. This allows the named beneficiaries to provide your death certificate and their identification to prove they are the named person on that form. Financial accounts can include checking, savings, money market, etc. Most financial institutions do not charge a fee to sign this form and have it on file.

We encourage you to make a copy of the signed document and place it in your records so your family knows this is one less thing they need to probate.

For IRAs, annuities, life insurance, and death benefits, you can name a beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary on the account, annuity, life insurance policy, or death benefit. By naming specific beneficiaries, those individuals directly inherit the funds without going through probate.

We encourage you to make a copy of the signed document and  place it in your records so your family knows this is one less thing they need to probate.

Record a beneficiary deed

Prevent Probate on Property

For real property in Arizona, you can record a beneficiary deed which designates to whom your property goes upon your death. This does not change the ownership of the property while you are alive so you still have full control of your real property. These deeds must be notarized and recorded before your death to be valid. And while you are still living and competent you can revoke and do a new beneficiary deed if you change your mind about who you want to inherit your property.

I am a Certified Legal Document Preparer and can help you with the beneficiary deed. Our firm charges a $200 flat fee to prepare, notarize, and record your deed.

No probate

Preventing probate on your vehicle is EASY!

For vehicles in Arizona, sole owners can sign a MVD Beneficiary Designation form 96-0561 (must be notarized and attached/stapled to your title) to designate a beneficiary. This form is free and available for download at www.az.dot.gov/mvd/mvd-forms-library. And while you are still living and competent you can revoke/purge this form and do a new beneficiary designation if you change your mind about who you want to inherit your property vehicle.

Even if there are multiple owners on a vehicle, it may make sense to have every owner sign his/her own beneficiary designation form. If jointly owned, the other owner may become a sole owner when the other becomes deceased.

Not sure if you need a Trust, Last Will & Testament, or one of these alternative items to prevent probate??? Consider consulting with our firm to provide education about the pros and cons of each option. Then you can make an informed decision about your estate planning!

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480-464-4968

Written by Carol Aragon-Montgomery, AZCLDP #80427

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