Everything you own at the time of your death will be transferred to your heirs. However, not all your property will pass through probate. For example, when Chase B. died, he left behind property that included two homes, three cars, several retirement accounts, a thriving business, and a saltwater fishing boat. The personal representative of his estate started gathering Chase’s property, only to learn that some assets were non-probate assets. When it comes to probate vs. non-probate assets, keep the following in mind:
The way property is titled may answer the probate vs. non-probate question. This applies to property including but not limited to real estate. The following types of ownership may determine whether property will pass through probate:
Financial institutions and insurers offer accountholders the chance to name who will receive funds remaining in their accounts after they pass away. Beneficiary designations should be considered during estate planning. Accounts with beneficiary designations pass directly to the beneficiaries without the need for probate.
Assets that are used to fund trusts generally do not become probate assets. Instead, the assets may pass directly to the beneficiaries or continue to be managed by the trustee.
Attorney John Mangan is board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by the Florida Bar. Please call us at 772-324-9050 or use our Contact Form to set up an appointment. We help clients throughout Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.