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What is the difference between probate and nonprobate assets?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Probate

Going through the challenges of estate planning can be demanding, especially for those who are not familiar with the legal process. One crucial aspect of estate planning involves knowing the roles of probate and nonprobate assets. If you are seeking to plan your estate, how can understanding these assets help you manage your estate?

Probate assets

Probate assets go through the probate process after an individual’s death. These assets typically include property titled solely in the deceased’s name, such as real estate, bank accounts and personal belongings.

In addition, the court oversees the distribution of probate assets according to the deceased’s will. If the deceased has no will, the distribution of their assets will follow the intestacy laws of New York.

Nonprobate assets

On the other hand, nonprobate assets bypass the probate process. These assets generally have beneficiaries or joint owners, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies and payable-on-death accounts. Additionally, assets held in revocable living trusts do not go through probate.

Probate versus nonprobate assets

Knowing the distinction between probate and nonprobate assets is vital for two main reasons. First, proper estate planning can help lessen probate costs and delays. By converting probate assets into nonprobate ones, an individual can simplify the estate settlement process.

Second, understanding the distinction between these assets can allow an individual to manage their estate better. As a result, they can control the distribution of their assets according to their wishes.

The impact of probate on privacy

Meanwhile, since probate is a public process, probate assets become a matter of public record. In contrast, nonprobate assets pass directly to the beneficiaries without court involvement, preserving privacy.

Ensuring a smoother distribution of your assets

Knowing how to deal with probate and other legalities is essential for estate planning. With legal guidance, you may minimize probate complications and ensure a smoother distribution of your assets.