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What are the differences between probate and nonprobate assets?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate

Understanding the nuances of asset distribution in estate planning can be daunting. One aspect that can stir confusion is the distinction between probate and nonprobate assets.

By knowing these concepts, an individual can make more informed decisions about their estate plan. If you are wondering how your assets might be distributed under Georgia law after your passing, how can your knowledge of probate and nonprobate assets help you create or revise your estate plan?

Probate assets

Probate assets are those the deceased owned solely in their name at the time of death. These assets go through probate, a court-supervised process that authenticates the last will and testament of the deceased.

Probate assets include real property solely in the name of the deceased. Personal property like bank accounts, vehicles and household items are also probate assets.

Nonprobate assets

On the other hand, nonprobate assets do not go through the probate process. These assets have a designated beneficiary or are jointly owned with rights of survivorship. Examples of nonprobate assets include life insurance policies, retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries and property held as tenancy by the entirety or in joint tenancy.

Key difference

The primary difference between probate and nonprobate assets lies in the manner of their transfer after the owner’s death. While probate assets require court intervention, nonprobate assets transfer directly to the designated beneficiary or surviving co-owner.

Contrasts in time and costs

Additionally, the probate process can be costly and time-consuming, which can make nonprobate assets a more appealing option. However, careful planning is necessary to ensure that the distribution of all assets is according to the wishes of the deceased.

Protecting your legacy and the future of those you care about

Knowing the distinction between probate and nonprobate assets is a crucial part of estate planning. Although the estate planning process can be complex, it is an essential task with far-reaching implications. By seeking legal advice, you may navigate the intricacies of the law as you seek to protect your legacy and the future of those you care about.