All estates have to go through probate…
No, only some estates need to go through probate…
Or maybe none have to go through probate…
It can be very confusing when the word probate starts getting thrown around. So what’s the real answer? Do I need to go through the probate process? Let’s break it down.
What if I have a will?
Estates can go through probate with or without a will. Probate is simply the legal process that ensures property and possessions are given to the right people, and that the right people are in charge of your estate. If you have a will, probate implements the provisions of that will. All the judge has to do is validate the will and authorize the executor to carry out the responsibilities listed in the will.
If there is no will, things get a bit more complicated. The judge has the duty of appointing a personal representative. Then the court has to value the estate, deciding beneficiaries and creditors, and deciding the fairest way to distribute assets. These are all things that can be taken care of in advance with a will.
Some people who have a will don’t want to go through probate. While there is no requirement for a will or assets to go through probate, if the assets are not arranged specifically to avoid probate, there is no way for the beneficiaries to obtain legal ownership without it.
What does not have to go through probate?
- Beneficiary-Named Items
- Property Held Jointly With Survivor’s Rights
- POD (Payable on Death) and TOD (Transferrable on Death) Items
- Items Placed in a Living Trust
What does have to go through probate?
- Sole Ownership Property
- Investment Property With a Partner
- Non-Titled Property
- Inheritance When the Beneficiary Has Died
Probate is not a bad word
Probate can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It ensures that everything is done correctly when a loved one passes and gives a sense of security in a sometimes chaotic time. The process is much easier when you have a will and are prepared. If you need help getting through the probate process or preparing your simple will, please give Abbott Law Office a call at (806)350-4673. Don’t be afraid of probate, be ready!