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Which Assets Pass Through Probate?

The probate process is very common for estates that include assets not protected by a trust or will. However, even in the absence of a trust or will, some assets may not be subject to probate. Ultimately, an estate planning attorney can help you preserve your legacy and limit the risk of your heirs having to undergo the probate process. If you are the executor of an estate, a Scottsdale AZ probate lawyer can help you settle the estate and distribute the assets while meeting legal and Internal Revenue Service requirements.

If a person dies without having left a will, the entire estate automatically goes into probate, minus assets that are:

  1. Jointly owned with another individual. In this case, the second owner will assume full ownership of that asset.
  2. Assets that can be transferred to the named beneficiary, such as a retirement account.
  3. Assets held in a trust account with named beneficiaries of those assets.

Assets Commonly Subject to Probate

• Property owned as “tenants in common.” For example, the percentage of ownership of the deceased person in a warehouse owned as an investment.
• Assets owned in the sole name of the deceased person. For example, a car or a real estate property owned only by the deceased.

If the will did not name an executor, the probate court will appoint someone to manage the estate. It is their responsibility to disburse the assets as well as file the necessary documents to complete the probate process. An executor has the legal right and authority to accept a percentage of the estate’s proceeds as a fee for their efforts.

Assets That Are Not Commonly Subject to Probate

Not every asset necessarily has to pass through probate. The most common example of this is if the deceased owned his property and other assets jointly with his spouse, the probate proceeding may not be necessary.

Moreover, simplified probate proceedings are offered for small value estates. Summary probate is the simpler process. Consult an estate planning attorney to find out more about how your estate can avoid probate after your passing.

Thanks to our colleagues and contributors from Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into probate practice.

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