The probate process can be taxing, especially if there are multiple assets to go through during the estate’s administration. Aside from the lengthy proceedings, probate is also costly. Fortunately, some assets skip the probate process due to their nature, which allows for automatic transfers.
Probate exempt assets
Properties that avoid probate and automatically transfer to their joint owners or designated beneficiaries include the following:
- Jointly owned and survivorship properties: Upon the death of a partner, jointly owned assets will pass automatically to the surviving owners.
- Trust assets: The grantor no longer owns properties held in a trust. Therefore, trust assets avoid probate.
- Payable-on-death accounts: Assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts, transfer automatically to the beneficiaries upon the account owner’s death.
- Transfer-on-death deeds: Ohio recognizes the transfer of real estate property under a transfer-on-death affidavit. With this deed, the real property does not have to go through probate.
It is essential for the estate executor to spot and separate these properties from nonexempt ones. Otherwise, it will create complications and possibly give rise to unnecessary probate challenges. For instance, the estate might pay more taxes than it should. Additionally, a beneficiary could opt for probate litigation, which the executor could prevent by properly identifying the assets.
What you should do as an interested party
Whether you are an executor, a joint owner or a beneficiary of a decedent’s assets, you must ensure that you know and understand your rights and responsibilities. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the probate process. If you have any doubts or confusion, reaching out to a probate expert can help you find answers.