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Probate Assets Questions

Many people who have lost a loved one have undoubtedly had many questions or concerns involving the probate process or lack thereof. The unknowing of what probate assets are or how to get non-probate assets distributed often lead to questions like the ones answered below.

Are there any assets that pass outside of probate, non-probate assets?

There are assets that are non-probate assets. These are assets that will pass outside of the probate process. These non-probate assets include joint bank or brokerage accounts. Any joint bank accounts and or joint brokerage accounts will go automatically to the survivor. Any real property that is titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenants by entirety will also go automatically to the survivor. Any type of retirement accounts, life insurance, annuities, etc. that has a listed beneficiary will also go directly to the beneficiary.

My husband died and he had a small life insurance policy. He did not have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). What kinds of assets are probate assets and would need to pass through probate?

Assets that are considered probate assets that would need to pass through the probate process include real property that is not owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenants by entirety. Personal property is a probate asset as well. If there are any assets that the transfer of title will be necessary, these will also be probate assets. Life insurance typically has a beneficiary listed and is a non-probate asset. However, if the life insurance policy lists the beneficiary as the estate rather than an individual then it will need to go through probate and will then be a probate asset.

In the state of Florida how does an individual receive probate assets if there is no probate from a parent who has passed away from over 10 years ago?

Probate is a necessary process to pass ownership of a deceased person to another person (heir/beneficiary). Probate is also effective in paying debts to creditors via the probate assets. In order for you to receive the assets that the state is holding you must begin the probate process. It is necessary in order for the ownership of these assets to be passed to the beneficiaries. Under Florida law, If a valid will was left and is admitted to probate court, then probate will not be an effective tool to pass the ownership of probate assets to the beneficiaries. If there was no will then probate is absolutely necessary in order for the ownership to pass to the people who are to receive them.  

Is there any way to get assets from a parent’s estate if there was no will and no executor?

Even though your parent did not leave a will or name an executor, any surviving spouse or family member can apply to administer your parent’s estate and be appointed executor. Immediate family members are typically appointed executor over others that may make a petition. Since your parent passed without a will (intestate) the assets of his estate will be given out according to you the state’s laws. Probate assets will only include things that are titled in the deceased’s name only. Items that he held jointly will not be a probate asset. Items that are transfer on death (TOD) will also be a non-probate asset.

In Alabama, if a step parent died without any assets in their name. My children and I are the only heirs. I was named as the executor in their will. Do I have to probate the will if there are no probate assets?

If your step parent held non-probate assets such as joint accounts or insurance policies that named beneficiaries and there was truly no assets left in their name when she passed, then probate is not necessary.

Knowing correct information and having a good understanding about probate assets can help when dealing with circumstances involving the probate process. Experts can help answer what non-probate assets are or how to receive the probate assets from an estate. Get the answers fast and affordably by asking an Expert.
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