By Kiren Manning
When things such as probate and your estate are being tackled, it’s not unlikely to ask what these things mean after your passing. After all, when it comes to properties and assets you own, understanding their full implications on you and those around you after you pass away aren’t easy things to consider. Having a good idea about how they work can give you a heads up on how to approach these particular subjects carefully in order to avoid complications in the future.
However, do remember that the tips and information given below aren’t the only sources of information you have to take note of in terms of probate and your estate. It’s important to understand that a legal professional such as one here is perhaps someone who would best explain probate and your estate especially if you have specific situations you want to clarify as well.
According to The Balance, anyone who wants to plan an estate should understand what probate is and how it can affect your estate as a whole.
Probate: The Basics
Probate is what the court calls the process through which it is decided how your assets and property will be distributed to your survivors after you pass away. Sometimes assets are given to heirs, or sometimes beneficiaries immediately get your assets and they bypass the entire process of having to go through the court.
- When a probate process is in question, it’s important for the one who has the estate to appoint an administrator or executor of their will. If you’re filing the estate and plan to use any kind of probate, it’s important to collect and understand your assets, pay the appropriate bills, distribute property to your respective heirs, and then file the final account. Unfortunate, this is both a time consuming and costly process.
Probate and Non Probate Assets: The Difference
It’s perhaps important then to know the difference between probate and non probate assets. This will allow you to plan your estate more carefully and more properly. Understanding their differences can at least help you determine the kind of assets that can be divided based on how you think they should be distributed.
Probate, for instance, includes assets that the decedent is in sole ownership of.
- A decedent will have ownership of real property if it’s titled in their name, or if they’re a tenant in common.
- Automobiles, furniture, jewelry, and other personal property can be passed on to heirs.
- A decedent with bank accounts in their name will get to keep the accounts.
- A limited liability company, corporation, or partnership interests that the decedent owns will be theirs.
- Brokerage accounts or life insurance policies that has the decedent as the beneficiary will be under their ownership as well.
Non probate assets, for instance, consist of the following kinds of property:
- If a property is held by a tenant in its entirety, or if they’re holding as a joint tenancy, it can be a non probate asset.
- Brokerage accounts that are either payable on death, transfer on death, or held in joint tenancy can be owned as non probate assets.
- Property contained in a trust can also be considered a non probate asset.
- Brokerage accounts or life insurance accounts that have beneficiaries other than the decedent can be owned by the latter.
This means your estate planning should include being able to take into account whether or not your property or asset is a probate or not. This is because a will doesn’t necessarily allow you to control the way your property is distributed, regardless of their type. This means you have thoroughly check who owns your properties and if they’re distributed in the way you want them to be. If not, then it might be wise to start to make adjustments with the assistance of a legal counsel or a financial professional.
It can be a bit hard for some to plan for their estate when there are a lot of things to consider, but with the proper assessment and guidance, someone planning for their estate could get their things properly sorted out without much hassle.
Probate and estate can be confusing in general, but they are not entirely impossible to learn. Having a good grasp on the basics can greatly help you decide on more specific matters, and the process could be easier with a legal professional in tow. Their assistance, as well as careful consultation with other professionals, and assessment of your assets, can greatly help you prepare for your passing, even if you see it happening many years in the future. Remember, being prepared doesn’t only mean preparing yourself, but also things you own that can have a profound impact on those around you.
Disclaimer: Please remember that this article shouldn’t be considered as a form of legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer or a legal counsel in order to learn about the specifics of probate and how it can be applied to your situation.
– Kiren is a estate law writer who enjoys writing about subject in relation to real estate and law. He has written for a few blogs in the past, and enjoys sharing his knowledge with those who enjoy reading. In his spare time he enjoys spending quality time with those he loves.