If your loved one is growing older, you may be helping him or her to plan for end-of-life issues. One concern that many older adults and their family members have in common is the probate process. However, there are some assets that won’t have to go through probate. The staff at Elder Care Direction can help you to understand probate and the types of assets that might pass outside of the court process.
Assets that commonly go through probate
Property that commonly must go through probate includes the following types:
- Property that was solely in the deceased person’s name
- Shares of property that is titled as tenants in common with another person
This property is also known as the probate estate. If you have assets that will have to go through probate, the executor that you have named in your will has the responsibility of opening a probate court case and to manage it until it concludes. If you pass away without a will, the court will appoint a person to serve as an estate administrator. The person who is appointed or named is able to hire an attorney to help with the probate court process. The attorney’s fee would then be paid out of money from the estate.
Property and assets that will not have to go through probate
Many different types of assets will not have to be probated. If you are married and your spouse survives you, all of the assets that you own jointly will not have to go through probate. Instead, they will pass directly to your spouse.
There are a variety of assets that do not need to be probated, including the following:
- 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts with named beneficiaries
- Assets held in living trusts
- Funds that are held in a payable-on-death bank account
- Securities that have been registered in a transfer-on-death form
- Co-owned U.S. savings bonds and those that are registered in a payable-on-death form
- Real estate that has a valid transfer-on-death deed
- Distributions from a pension plan
- Salary, wages, or commissions that you are owed at the time of your death
- Property that is titled as a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship
- Community property in community property states
- Property titled as tenancy by the entirety with a spouse
- Vehicles that are registered as transfer-on-death
- Household goods
A majority of states also have a simplified process for small estates called summary probate. The easier process can be used if the total value of the probate property is less than a specific amount.
Talk to the professionals at Elder Care Direction
Many types of assets will not have to go through probate. There are ways that you can avoid the probate process. To learn more about probate and how to avoid it, contact Elder Care Direction today by filling out our online contact form.