When a family member passes away people have a lot of questions. For some of those questions, they seek the advice of experienced Probate attorneys. This is a good decision because families need to know what to do to administer the deceased’s estate. One thing that many people assume is that everything the deceased owned has to go through Probate. This is often incorrect.
The only assets that have to go through Probate are those that are not distributed in some other way. For example, if there is a payable on death bank account, then the funds in the account automatically go to the person designated on the account. The account does not have to go through Probate. Many other financial accounts work in a similar way. Any property in a properly written Trust also does not have to go through Probate. The Probate process merely handles everything that is left over. However, it should be noted that real estate often does have to go through Probate as does any property distributed by a Will.
A Probate attorney can look at what property the deceased left behind and advise the family about what does and does not have to go through Probate. Families are well-advised to seek out the expertise.