Just about every individual leaves behind some assets that aren’t required to go through probate. Even when you do carry out probate court proceedings for your estate, not everything will need to be included. That’s excellent news, since property that does not have to go through probate may be distributed to the individuals that inherit it much more fast.
Assets That Typically Go Through Probate
Simply, probate is required only for property that was:
- owned completely in the name of the deceased individual—for instance, real estate or a vehicle titled in the deceased individuals name alone, or
- a portion of property owned as “tenants in common”—for instance, the deceased individual’s interest in a factory owned with her brother as capital.
This property is typically known as the probate estate. When there are assets that need probate court procedures, it’s the job of the executor appointed in the will to start a case in probate court and watch over it to its completion. If there isn’t a will, or the will doesn’t appoint an executor, the probate court will designate an individual to serve. In any case, the individual in charge may retain a lawyer to assist with the court procedures, and pay the lawyer’s fees from capital in the estate.
Assets That Typically Aren’t Required to Go Through Probate
Usually, a lot of the assets in an estate aren’t required to go through probate. When the deceased individual was married and jointly owned most everything, or did some preparation to stay away from probate, the proceedings might not be required.
Here are types of assets that aren’t required to go through probate:
- Retirement accounts—IRA’s or 401(k)’s, for instance—that a beneficiary is designated
- Life insurance returns (unless the estate is appointed as beneficiary, that is uncommon)
- Capital in payable on death financial institution accounts
- Property placed in a living trust
- Securities certified in transfer on death documents
- US savings bonds certified in payable on death documents
- Jointly-owned US savings bonds
- Real estate dependent on an authentic transfer on death document (permitted only in some states)
- Wages, salaries, and/or commissions (up to a specific amount) owed the deceased person
- Pension plan allocations
- Property placed in joint ownership with right to survivorship
- Property owned as renters in the entirety with a spouse (not every state has this type of ownership)
- Property placed in community property with right to survivorship (permitted only in some community property states)
- Vehicles or boats registered in transfer on death documents (permitted only in some states)
- Vehicles that go to next of kin under state laws
- Household items and other things that go to next of kin under state laws
Additionally, a lot of states provide streamlined probate proceedings for estates of diminutive value. The streamlined process is usually known as “summary probate.” The executor may use the streamlined process when the total property that is dependent to probate is under a specific amount, in which differs greatly state to state. In many states, the limit is just a couple thousand dollars; whilst in other states, its $200,000.
Since you only count the property that is required to go through probate—and leave out property that was co-owned or placed in a trust, for instance—some very significant estates can take benefit from the “small estate” procedures. For instance, lets say an estate comprises of a $500,000 house that’s co-owned, a $150,000 financial institution account in which a payable on death beneficiary has been designated, a $120,000 IRA, and an exclusively owned vehicle valued at $10,000. The estate has a worth of more than $770,000, though the only probate asset is the vehicle—and its value makes it eligible for the “small estate” procedure in just about every state.
Mary Randolph, J. (2020, October 12). What Assets Must Go Through Probate? Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/wills-trusts/what-assets-go-through-probate.html
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