Do All Assets Have to Go Through Probate?

Do All Assets Have to Go Through Probate?

Probate Lawyer

Probate refers to the legal process in which a will is proven valid in court. Once that is finished, the executor of an estate can begin paying the deceased’s debts and then distribute the assets to the proper heirs. However, it is important to understand that not every asset in an estate has to go through probate. Here is further information about what kinds of assets are and aren’t required to go through probate.

Assets Solely in Your Name

Generally, assets that are only in your name are subject to probate, like homes, cars, bank accounts, stocks and bonds. If only your name is on the title, deed or account, the property can’t go to beneficiaries before they complete the probate process. If you have personal property that does not come with titles or deeds, such as furniture, artwork and jewelry, understand that they still have to go through probate.

Beneficiary Designations

With some assets, like life insurance policies and retirement accounts, you are allowed to name a beneficiary. Instead of going through probate, these items will go directly to the beneficiary you designated. However, there are some situations in which your assets will still have to go through probate. For instance, if the beneficiary dies before you, the assets will have to be probated. Likewise, if a beneficiary is incapacitated, the court may likely take over the assets.

Jointly Owned Property

If you owned property with another person, that property will go directly to the other owner upon your death. It will not have to go through probate. Joint ownership is a good way to make sure the person you want to have your property does not have to deal with probate. For instance, if you want your child to receive your home after you die, you can name him or her as the other owner.

Revocable Living Trust

If you establish a revocable living trust, you can have control of your assets while you are living and then specify what you want to happen to your assets after you die. Assets in a living trust also don’t have to go through probate. You can add or remove assets in any way you would like.

If you have additional questions about the probate process, you may want to schedule an appointment with a probate lawyer, like one from Theus Law Offices.

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