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  • Writer's picturePorter DeVries


How do I avoid probate?

The dreaded probate...Although it really isn't that bad in most cases, probate is a court process that takes time and money which can be avoided.

Option 1: Transfer on Death Deed. This is a deed that identifies who will receive ownership of the property when the current owner passes away. It is entirely revocable and can be changed at any time. When the current owner passes away, the transfer is automatic (although there are some steps needed to update the State and County). Our Standard Deed Service includes Transfer on Death Deeds.

Option 2: Joint Tenancy. Do you own property with someone else on the title? If you hold the title as Joint Tenants or Tenants by the Entirety, then you have each have rights of survivorship. This means that when one of passes away, the survivor automatically receives the deceased's interest. If you co-own property with someone as Tenants in Common, then when one of you passes away, your heirs will inherit your interest (and that will have to be established through probate, unless you've used Option 3).

Option 3: Living Trust. You can avoid probate by creating a living trust and putting it in your trust, meaning that the trust becomes the owner of the property. When a trust owns property, it is controlled by the trustee. You would serve as the trustee as long as you are alive (or capable), and the person you identify as the successor trustee takes over at that point. The successor trustee is then required to transfer the property according to your wishes, which are expressed in the trust documents. Check out for the most cost-effective estate planning solutions.

At HawaiiDeed, we help people avoid probate every day. Our Standard Deed Service helps people transfer property to their trust, add a joint tenant, or establish a beneficiary upon death. Learn more and order online at

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