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Probate Assets

Transferring Assets without going to Probate

There are ways of transferring assets of an estate that do not involve going to court. Here are some methods of transferring title to property from the deceased person (also known as the “decedent”) to the new owner(s) without undertaking the court-supervised process known as probate:

  • Property held by a trustee of a living or revocable trust.
  • Life insurance or brokerage accounts that list someone other than the decedent’s estate as the beneficiary.
  • Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or another retirement account that already has a named beneficiary or beneficiaries.
  • Securities held in a transfer-on-death account.
  • Payable-on-death bank account.
  • Bank or brokerage accounts held in joint names or with payable on death or transfer on death beneficiaries.
  • Vehicles held by transfer-on-death registration.
  • Property held in joint tenancy or as community property with the right of survivorship and the decedent is the first spouse to pass away.
  • Transfer on Death Deed (also called a beneficiary deed).

When titled correctly, these assets pass to the surviving co-owner or to the named beneficiary of the asset.
Assets that require probate are assets that are in the decedent’s individual name with no way to transfer legal title ownership to their heirs or named beneficiaries without the court’s supervision. Probate might be necessary if an asset is improperly titled or the intended transfer to a named beneficiary fails.

Give Brockway Law a call if you have any questions.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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Giuliana V. Brockway

As Principal of Brockway Law in Santa Rosa, California, my practice includes estate planning, wills and trusts, trust and estate litigation, trust and estate administration and probate matters.