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Which assets must go through probate?

A parent, relative or loved one named you a personal representative for her or his estate, and you must learn more about what the role entails. For instance, which assets must go through probate, and which do not?

AgingCare may have the answers about the probate process you need. Learn how to either minimize or eliminate the probate process.

Assets that go through probate

Examples of assets that commonly go through probate include those that have only the deceased’s name on the title when she or he died, such as a bank, car or home account. The reason being that only the probate court has the authority to modify titles according to the deceased’s desires. If a co-owned asset does not have the right of survivorship, it may become subject to probate.

Assets that do not go through probate

Most annuity contracts and life insurance policies that list a non-estate beneficiary and pay directly after delivery of a death claim do not go through probate. Additional examples of operation of contract or law include 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement and brokerage accounts. Other assets that bypass probate and go directly to the named beneficiary include bank accounts with transfer on death or payable on death arrangements.

Ownership of a joint account goes to the surviving owner without first passing through probate court. A person may title real estate property to an heir, which means the building or land goes directly to the named heir without going through probate.

Understand your rights and responsibilities as a personal representative. Proper knowledge may speed up the probate process.