Place property into "Joint with rights of survivorship" ownership
Property which is owned by a deceased person and another person as joint tenants with right of survivorship will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner without going through probate. The wording must be exact however, as 'John Doe and Jane Doe as joint tenants' is NOT sufficient to create this type of ownership and does NOT avoid probate.
Be aware that placing a joint owner on a property may limit your right to manage the property, and open the property up to creditors of the new joint owner, and it may have effects on qualification for Medicaid or other federal benefits. Consult with an attorney if you have ANY questions!
Designate a beneficiary / make a payable on death designation
Property with a beneficiary (such as life insurance, pension benefits, and IRAs) are payable on death, without probate, to the beneficiary you designate (or, if none, as designated in the contract or plan itself).
You can also designate a 'payable on death' payee for bank accounts, brokerage accounts and similar property in Michigan. Again, be sure this is NOT simply a joint ownership. That can have serious issues that a beneficiary designation does not have for managing the property during your lifetime.
Place property in Trust
Properties owned by a revocable or irrevocable trust do not go through probate but instead are disposed of after death according to the instructions written into the trust document.
Again, seek competent legal help to create and fund a trust that accomplishes your goals and protects the property for your beneficiaries as you want. And be sure the property is properly transferred into trust control! Just making a trust does nothing unless you also place the property into the trust properly. A good lawyer will be sure that your trust is funded as well as created. It may cost more, but a trust does nothing for you unless it is properly funded.
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