Many Kent residents have heard of the estate tax and probate court, two items that understandably have negative connotations. For some people, avoiding probate and minimizing their tax consequences are desirable things. After all, depending on the situation, probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process that puts a lot of stress and confusion on a person's heirs. However, there are things that can be done before a person dies to help avoid time in probate court.
First of all, beneficiaries need to be named on important accounts. Retirement funds, life insurance and bank accounts should have beneficiaries listed. If they're not listed, the account can go to probate.