Probate estates are those that need to go through the probate process in order to be distributed to beneficiaries, while non-probate estates are those that can be transferred outside of probate.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering what the difference is between a probate estate and a non-probate estate—and which type of estate your loved one had. While the answer to that question may not be immediately clear, this blog post will explain the difference between the two types of estates and help you understand which one applies to your situation.
What is Probate?
Probate is the judicial process through which a decedent’s estate is administered. In other words, probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies and their assets need to be distributed to their beneficiaries. The probate process can be overseen by either a court or an estate administration attorney.
During probate, the decedent’s will is typically filed with the court, and an executor or personal representative is appointed to administer the estate. The executor or personal representative is responsible for gathering the decedent’s assets, paying any debts and taxes owed by the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
What is a Non-Probate Estate?
A non-probate estate is any asset that does not need to go through probate in order to be transferred to a beneficiary. In other words, a non-probate asset can be transferred outside of probate through means such as beneficiary designation, joint ownership, or payable-on-death accounts.
Some examples of non-probate assets include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and investments held in a trust. These types of assets typically have a designated beneficiary who will receive them upon the owner’s death—meaning they don’t have to go through probate in order to be transferred.
How Can an Estate Administration Attorney Help?
When dealing with probate and non-probate estates, an estate administration attorney can provide invaluable guidance. They are well-versed in the laws that govern wills, trusts and estates, and can advise clients on how to utilize inheritance planning to best achieve their goals. From drafting valid documents to filing needed paperwork, attorneys can efficiently complete all necessary steps of the process. Moreover, they often have extensive experience navigating complicated litigation that is sometimes involved in settling an estate. Estate administration attorneys are committed to helping clients navigate troubled waters while alleviating as much stress as possible during a challenging time.
In conclusion, there are two main types of estates—probate estates and non-probate estates. Probate estates are those that need to go through the probate process in order to be distributed to beneficiaries, while non-probate estates are those that can be transferred outside of probate. Understanding which type of estate your loved one had will help you determine what needs to be done in order to settle their affairs. If you have any questions about probate or non-probate estates, reach out to an experienced estate administration attorney who can help guide you through the process.
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