Probate documents

Which Assets Go Through Probate?

When a loved one passes away, their estate often goes through a legal process known as probate. But what exactly are probate assets?

Types of Assets Subject to Probate

Not all assets must pass through probate. However, several common types typically require this process. Solely owned property, such as a house or car owned by the deceased alone, is a primary example. Personal belongings, from jewelry to art collections, also fall under probate assets if they were not co-owned or designated to a beneficiary. Additionally, bank accounts solely in the deceased's name, without a payable-on-death (POD) designation, must go through probate. Understanding which assets are subject to probate is essential for executors and beneficiaries alike, as it affects how and when assets will be distributed.

Non-Probate Assets Explained

Jointly Owned Property

While probate can seem like an all-encompassing process, some assets naturally bypass it, and jointly-owned property is a prime example. Assets held in joint tenancy, such as real estate or bank accounts, come with a right of survivorship. This means that upon the death of one owner, the asset automatically passes to the surviving co-owner(s) without the need for probate. This seamless transfer of ownership is one of the reasons why many choose to hold property jointly, especially between spouses. It's a straightforward way to ensure that property remains within the intended hands without getting caught up in the legalities of probate.

Designated Beneficiary Accounts

Similarly, accounts with designated beneficiaries are structured to avoid the probate process. These include retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s and life insurance policies. Upon the account holder's death, the assets within these accounts transfer directly to the named beneficiaries, circumventing the probate court. This direct transfer not only simplifies the distribution of assets but also provides quicker access to funds that may be crucial for covering living expenses or settling the deceased's final affairs. It's a strategic way to ensure your loved ones receive the support they need without delay.

Our Attorneys Can Help

If you're in Colorado Springs, CO, and looking to establish an estate plan or navigate the probate process, Drexler Law is here to assist you. Our expertise in family law ensures that your assets are protected and your loved ones are cared for according to your wishes. Don't let the complexities of probate overwhelm you—contact us to find out how we can help you create a seamless estate plan or guide you through probate.

Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards peace of mind for you and your family.