When you or a loved one passes away, the estate must go through probate – a court-managed process which determines how the deceased’s estate is to be distributed. This process may occur whether the deceased had a will or not. However, certain assets are not subject to probate.
Certain assets are able to avoid probate, and are passed on to the named beneficiaries directly. Non-probate assets include:
- Any property owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship
- Life insurance policies
- Payable On Death (POD) bank accounts
- Retirement Accounts (such as an IRA or 401K)
- Property that is held in a trust.
For all other assets and property, a probate proceeding must be initiated. Generally, this process follows a certain number of steps and procedures, but every estate is unique and working with a probate attorney can ensure the process is smooth and executed as quickly as possible. Occasionally, probate disputes may arise. With the death of a loved one, there may be a lot of stress and confusion leading to disputes over the smallest details. This could lead to multiple hearings (a “will contest”) or long drawn-out litigation.
Schromen Law, LLC can help you through the probate process, and help protect your rights should a dispute arise – the whole time focusing on avoiding litigation to avoid undue stress, save time and money, and preserve important family relationships.