Does a life estate avoid probate?

Probate law book with a gavel by its side

Probate provides a trustworthy, transparent, and fair procedure for administering a deceased’s assets. However, with these benefits comes a lot of stress. The probate process isn’t only stressful – it is time-consuming as well. People who prefer their assets passed on to their loved ones without them applying for probate have some alternative legal routes they can take. But does a life estate avoid probate? Does it join the list of these legal procedures that avoid probate? Lets have a look.

Can a life estate avoid probate?

Probate of book

A life estate can avoid probate as long as the deed is valid. For one, assets transferred to a life estate do not form part of a person’s estate when they pass on. At the establishment of a life trust, assets are first put into the name of trustees who will manage and hold them temporarily for the beneficiaries. Upon the passing on of the original owner of the asset (grantor), outright ownership of the assets in the trust transfers to the beneficiaries.

Since the law doesn’t recognise the deceased as the owner of assets in a trust, a grant of probate is not required. Thus, the beneficiaries are free to use, sell or transfer the assets when the ownership transfers to them without applying for probate. Besides avoiding probate, a life estate eliminates any dispute regarding administrating the deceased’s estate. There is already a clear title regarding the property, and the transfer is pre-determined.

Gavel on a red probate book
Probate Valuation

Life trusts can be highly beneficial in legacy planning. It is famous for aiding a swift transfer of properties to spouses, children, or any pre-determined beneficiary. Generally, assets in a life trust deed automatically transfer to the beneficiaries when the grantor dies. Thus, the executors do not need to go through the probate process. Got any further queries about how life estate avoid probate? Check how living trusts avoid probate.

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