What’s The Difference Between Probate and Non-Probate Assets?

Probate assets are assets that must go through the probate process after the owner of the asset passes away. Non-probate assets, on the other hand, do not have to go through probate.

Some common examples of probate assets include:

  1. Solely owned property: Any property owned solely by the deceased, such as a home, land, or a vehicle, is considered a probate asset.
  2. Personal belongings: Items like jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other personal possessions that are owned solely by the deceased are also considered probate assets.
  3. Bank accounts: If a bank account is solely in the name of the deceased, it is considered a probate asset.
  4. Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments that are solely owned by the deceased are probate assets.

Some common examples of non-probate assets include:

  1. Property owned jointly with rights of survivorship: When property is owned jointly with someone else, such as a spouse, and includes the right of survivorship, it automatically passes to the surviving owner and does not have to go through probate.
  2. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies: These types of assets typically have a designated beneficiary and are paid directly to that beneficiary upon the death of the account holder or policy owner, bypassing probate.
  3. Trusts: Assets held in a trust typically pass directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust, avoiding probate.
  4. Payable-on-death accounts: Bank accounts or investment accounts that have a designated beneficiary and are payable upon death to that beneficiary bypass probate.

It’s important to note that the laws regarding probate and non-probate assets vary by state and country, so it’s always a good idea to consult with an estate planning attorney or financial advisor for guidance specific to your situation.

We would be happy to help you if you’re in or about to start the probate process. If you’re in Maryland or DC, contact our office today.

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