Throughout people’s lives, they acquire various assets. These could be various bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, homes and other property, vehicles, jewelry, collectibles and many other types of assets. People may cherish these assets and use them daily throughout their lives, but they cannot take them with them when they pass away. That is why it is important to draft a will so they can dictate who will receive these assets when they do pass away.

Wills are important, but the estate must still go through probate. This is a court process that ensures the estate is administered according to people’s wishes in their wills. This can be an informal process or a more formal process that must be approved by judges. However, not all assets will need to go through the probate process.

Assets that need to go through probate

There are many assets that go through probate even when people have a will. Homes that are in the person’s name alone or homes that are owned with others as tenants in common. Stocks and bonds that are owned by people individually will go through probate. Also, bank accounts will go through probate unless people have named beneficiaries for the accounts. People’s tangible property such as jewelry, collectibles, artwork, vehicles in only one person’s name and other types of tangible property need to go through probate.

Assets that do not go through Probate

Homes that are owned as joint tenants will automatically go to the other joint tenant. Retirement accounts with named beneficiaries will not go through probate. Also, life insurance policies will automatically be paid to the beneficiary. Bank accounts with a transfer on death deed will also be transferred directly to the named individual on the deed and avoid probate. Also, assets held in certain trusts will not go through probate.

Unfortunately, everyone will pass away at some point in time. Planning for this unfortunate event is not something people like to do necessarily, but it is something they should do to ensure there property ends up with the people they want to have it. Drafting wills properly is important and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.