When a person passes away, their will must go through probate court, a legal process that is utilized to settle the estate. Assets that are not put into a trust are the portion of the estate that are taxed.
The probate process is vital to be able to move assets to the beneficiary. It is often dreaded as probate can be expensive and take a lot of time to complete. Accessing an estate planning attorney for their experience and guidance can help support you through the complexities of probate.
The details of probate defer depending on the state you reside, it’s important to remember the following key pieces of information when it comes to probate:
There are some assets that are not required to go through the probate process. When this occurs an inheritor can avoid spending money on court costs and the assets become theirs. There are a number of assets that can avoid the probate process which includes:
- Compensations from insurance policies. This often comes from any life insurance policies that may have been held.
- The beneficiary named on accounts such as retirement accounts can be transferred to the inheritor or loved one without being required to go through probate.
- Any asset where the beneficiary has already been appointed by the descendant should not need to be contested in probate court.
- Any assets that are held jointly with someone like a spouse, partner or relative. For example if cars, property, or bank accounts were jointly owned. It’s likely they would fall under sole ownership of the survived loved one.
It is important to contact an estate planning attorney to learn more information around probate and assets that may be able to avoid probate altogether.
Assets are Required to Withstand Probate
Unfortunately there are times when specific assets are required to pass through probate court. Here are a few examples of assets that will have to go through this process:
- Real Estate Properties that are owned by the loved one who has passed
- Any bank accounts such as checking or savings accounts that are not assigned to a beneficiary.
- More valuable personal property of the loved one.
- Anything that is not included in the will.
In the event that there is not a will in place, all assets will be required to pass through probate court. Once the process is complete, which can take some time, heirs can be determined. It’s important to note that if there is not a will identifying beneficiaries, the court will make a determination around this.
Accessing an attorney with knowledge of estate planning can support you in moving through the probate process as swiftly and easily as possible. Ensuring that you have an estate plan in place can save your beneficiaries from spending money on attorney fees when it otherwise could have been avoided. The grief process can be emotionally challenging, with an estate plan in place, and the help of an attorney, your loved one will be able to navigate through probate with ease.
Thanks to authors at Smith & Weer P.C. for their insight into Probate law.