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Here’s what to know about probating assets

| Jun 26, 2020 | Estate Planning

You want to make sure you leave as little work to your family as possible when you pass away, which is why you’ve worked on your estate plan since a young age. You take care to update it regularly, too.

Now that you’ve moved to a new state, it’s time to take a look at it again and how you can help your family avoid probate. Assets that end up in probate get distributed in accordance with the current state laws, and it could take months for a judge to get to the case.

What kinds of assets will be probated?

Assets are not generally probated unless there are no beneficiary designations and joint owners do not have the right of survivorship. In those cases, beneficiaries will need to go to court to seek possession of the assets. Assets that may be probated include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Interest in real estate
  • Money market accounts

On the other hand, there are some assets that don’t need to go through probate. These include:

  • Accounts with beneficiary designations, like IRAs or 401(k)s
  • Accounts or assets designated with Payable on Death or Transfer on Death designations
  • Accounts that are jointly held with a right of survivorship

What do you need to do to prevent the need for probate?

If you are working on your estate plan, you should focus on creating a plan that provides a beneficiary for all of your major assets and talks about what to do with what remains. If you don’t designate beneficiaries, then your family could end up facing several months of time in court seeking assets that you intended to give to them.