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Probate vs. Non-Probate

Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets

Navigating the estate administration process involves understanding the distinction between probate and non-probate assets. 

Probate assets are those solely owned by the deceased and do not have joint owners or designated beneficiaries. These assets typically go through the probate process overseen by the court to settle debts and distribute remaining assets according to the decedent's will or state law.

Non-probate assets, on the other hand, bypass probate and pass directly to joint owners or designated beneficiaries. Examples include life insurance policies and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, jointly owned assets with the right of survivorship, and assets held in a living trust. These assets are distributed outside of the probate process according to beneficiary designations, joint ownership, or trust agreements.

Understanding this distinction is essential as a personal representative, as it impacts how assets are managed and distributed. Our experienced attorneys at Zacharia Brown can provide guidance on navigating probate proceedings and administering non-probate assets, ensuring the process is carried out efficiently and in accordance with the law.