As you work on completing your estate Plan and determining how you want to pass on your assets to your loved ones, one of the bigger questions that people tend to want an answer to is how to avoid probate court. The process of navigating the probate court process can be costly and time-consuming for your beneficiaries, so being able to avoid the situation entirely, especially for your bigger assets, can be extremely beneficial. One asset in particular that you may be wondering about is your mobile home, and how best to list it as an asset in your Will so that your beneficiaries can avoid the hassles of probate court. Trust & Will is here to help!
Trust & Will, the leader in online estate planning services, understands the importance of being able to save your family and loved ones time, money, and stress after you pass away. You will likely want to ensure that your family has time to grieve, and not get bogged down with figuring out how to avoid the probate court process when settling your estate. For this reason, the focus of this estate planning article will be on how your estate can avoid probate court if you plan to bequeath a mobile home, and the considerations you will want to keep in mind when determining the type of mobile home you have.
Keep reading to learn the answers to the following questions regarding avoiding probate court if you own a mobile home:
What considerations need to be made if your mobile home is personal property or real estate?
If you own a mobile home, this asset can legally be considered one of two things. Your mobile home will either be considered personal property or real estate. If you own just the mobile home you live in, but not the land upon which your mobile home resides, then your mobile home will be considered personal property, and your title will be for your mobile home only. However, if you own the mobile home and the land upon which your mobile home sits, it is possible to combine the land and mobile home and classify it as real estate. To be considered real estate, the mobile home residence must be permanent, and if you own the land and your mobile home never leaves it, then it can be considered a permanent residence. It is important to note that even if your mobile home is considered real estate, it will still have a title.
It will be important to know whether your mobile home is legally classified as personal property or as real estate before you list it as an asset in your Will or Trust.
How does the value of the mobile home affect the need for probate court?
In many states, if the net worth of your mobile home is less than 10,000 dollars, your beneficiaries will generally be able to avoid the probate court process. However, the financial perimeters may vary from state to state so you should first familiarize yourself with your state laws. It is possible that the beneficiary of your mobile home will only be required to go to the Secretary of State or DMV in order to have the title of the mobile home transferred into their name as the new rightful owner. Additionally, in some states, it may even be possible to avoid probate court with no additional effort, even when your mobile home is worth more than 10,00 dollars. This makes understanding your specific state’s estate guidelines crucial.
What is the best way to avoid probate court if you own a mobile home?
As previously noted, it is crucial to ensure that you familiarize yourself with your state’s specific laws regarding probate court and mobile homes. Each state will have its own rules and regulations that can impact your plans to keep your estate out of probate court. However, as a general rule, the best way for your beneficiaries to avoid the hassles and expense of probate court is for you to put your mobile home in Trust for them.
A Trust is a legal arrangement that allows someone to pass down their assets to their loved ones after they die. In a Trust, the grantor (creator of the Trust) can choose a trusted representative to be the Trustee of their estate. The Trustee will be appointed to manage and protect the estate's assets until you pass away. At that point, ownership of the grantor’s assets will be transferred to the intended beneficiary, who is the person designated to receive the assets. When your assets are placed in Trust, your beneficiaries will be able to avoid the probate court process and more seamlessly have the estate’s assets transferred to them.
It is also important to note that when drafting a Trust, the grantor can name themself as the Trustee of the Trust in order to maintain ownership and responsibility of the mobile home and other assets until the time of death. This is a huge benefit, as it will allow the grantor to continue to enjoy their mobile home until they pass away.
If your mobile home is considered personal property, you can pass on your mobile home as a personal property asset within your Trust. If your mobile home is considered real estate, it will be transferred to your beneficiaries as real estate.
Have more questions about estate planning when you own a mobile home? Be sure to check out the other articles in our mobile home series:
Determining the best way to pass on your mobile home to your loved ones while also trying to help them avoid the probate court process may take some careful planning and consideration. However, the creation of your Trust does not have to be complicated. At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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