Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Is Non-Probate Property

In the world of estate planning and probate, there is a very important term -- non-probate property.  Non-probate property is any asset you own that has a label on it that states what should happen to the asset upon your death.  Because it has this label, its distribution at your death is not controlled by your will.

Common examples of non-probate property include:

  • retirement accounts with completed beneficiary forms;
  • life insurance with completed beneficiary forms;
  • Pay on death cards associated with bank accounts;
  • Transfer on death cards associated with brokerage accounts;
  • Trusts; and
  • Transfer on Death Deeds for real property.
Photo credit: - free image

When I work with clients it is crucial that we identify what non-probate assets they own, and make sure the beneficiary forms are up-to-date, complete, and recorded properly.  More and more, people have a greater percentage of their net worth in non-probate assets.  When doing an estate plan, do not neglect the beneficiary forms.

Please remember that a blog post is not legal advice.  It is best that you consult with an attorney in your area for advice specific to your situation.

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