How Do Probate and Non-Probate Assets Differ? - Alvinology

How Do Probate and Non-Probate Assets Differ?

The passing of someone close to us is always difficult, this process can be made even harder if the one that passed did not have a will or a trust in place at the time of their death. This makes it necessary for the estate to go into probate, a process that is difficult for most people to understand fully. For those looking for Seattle probate attorneys, Dickson legal can help. 

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal term for a period of time in which an estate cannot be touched and cannot be distributed after someone without a will or a trust passes away. This period of time is generally around 6 months and is meant to give anyone that has a potential claim to the estate the time they need to make a claim and to come forward. 

Those that can come forward during the probate period are creditors that have a vested interest in a debt that the deceased held while they were alive, family members or relatives that feel they have a claim, and anyone else that feels that part of the estate of the person that has passed may belong to them. These people are going to have to make sure that they prove they have a claim and that they are not just some random person off the street that thinks they should get something. 

What are Probate Assets?

Probate assets are those assets that can be attached to the probate process. This means assets that are owned solely by the person that has passed away. This can be nearly anything in the estate from property such as houses or rental properties, land, cars, or other assets that the individual held while they were alive. These assets are varied, they can be of great differing monetary value, and can be from any part of the life of the person that has passed. 

These assets can also be things like property upon which a debt is still owed, this is most commonly vehicles, this means that the person to whom the debt is still owed is likely to be able to come and repossess the asset to recoup the remainder of the debt. Probate assets are those that do not have any sort of prior claim on them or that do not have any sort of legal claim on them that means that they are not going to transfer to the probate process. 

What are Non-Probate Assets?

Non-probate assets are those that cannot be entered into the probate proceedings. This mostly refers to those assets that have been designated to go to a specific beneficiary upon death of the person in question. This can also refer to property that was owned jointly and that will then transfer to the remaining owner after the death of the other. A good example would be a house that a couple shares. Even if one partner passes without a will, since both have their name on the property, the likelihood is that the home would transfer to the remaining living spouse. 

Another great example would be joint bank accounts, property that is part of a living trust, life insurance accounts that have a clear beneficiary, or investment accounts that have a named successor. This is not the same as a will or a trust, but it does make it a bit easier to keep some items out of probate and to make sure that they are going to transfer to the people that they should up on the death of one individual. 

What is the Difference?

The main difference is that non-probate assets have a clear succession of ownership. They are not part of that limbo state that is not particularly clear. They have either been afforded a clear succession prior to the death of the person or they have a named beneficiary. They can be the same type of assets that are part of the probate process, but they have been taken care of prior to the death of the individual. 

Another difference is the value of the assets. In most cases, those larger assets that have been accounted for or that have a clear line of ownership are going to be worth more than the other assets that are part of the probate process. Knowing the difference between the two is important if you are thinking about making a claim during the probate process of any estate or if you have a vested interest in something that was part of the estate of someone that has passed. If you know the difference between these two things, it is going to be helpful in terms of making a claim if you have one and making sure that you are going to get your part of any estate that you may be entitled to. It is always best to learn the difference between the two and a lawyer can help you to determine what you might be entitled to and what has to be part of the probate process and part of the probate assets that are present in the estate. 

What Can a Lawyer Do to Help?

A lawyer can do a ton of different things to help the probate process. If you are thinking about end-of-life planning, it is always a good idea to have a will or a trust in place. At the very least you can create transfer on death paperwork for specific items to make sure that they do not enter probate. If you are someone who is dealing with a probate that is already in process, a lawyer can also be of great help. 

An estate or probate lawyer can help you stake your claim on an estate that has entered probate and can help you to protect you won interests in the process. They can answer any specific questions that you might have, they can help with filing paperwork and dealing with other lawyers, and if you do have a claim on a specific item or piece of property from the estate, they can help with that as well. 

Probate lawyers are well versed in the laws of probate and in the process that has to take place in order for the estate to be settled and for the probate to be completed. It does take time and with the help of the right lawyer you can get your part done and you can get back to your life. Probate is a process that is difficult for some and with the help of a lawyer you can better understand the process and you can make sure that if you do have a probate case that you are a part of, that it is resolved correctly and quickly and with far more ease than if you had to go it alone. 

Your lawyer can help you file all the necessary paperwork, take care of any issues that might arise, and can also help ensure that is you are part of the probate process, that you do get your part of the estate. The right lawyer can help you get the probate process resolved quickly and get it taken care of all the way around. 

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