Considering probate requirements is essential to developing a sound estate plan. Probate allows a person’s will to be reviewed in order to establish its validity.
It includes the processes related to executing a will and determining how assets will be distributed in cases where there is no will. Executors are appointed and any outstanding liabilities are resolved.
But do all assets go through the probate process? Understanding how factors such as the total value of an estate’s property and the types of assets it holds helps you determine when you’ll need to go through probate.
Your Estate’s Assets in Probate
There are many assets that individuals leave behind in their estates that aren’t required to go through the probate process. An estate planning attorney helps you determine what assets can be excluded so that they can be quickly distributed to beneficiaries.
In Georgia, the probate process allows an individual’s surviving family members to determine what assets are left behind while paying any remaining debts and court costs related to the management of the estate.
Georgia probate proceedings can last up to a year. The process may take longer in cases where family members or other beneficiaries disagree on the distribution of assets,
Assets Included in Probate
Assets that are typically part of the probate process include those that are exclusively owned by the deceased individual as well as any interest he or she has in any “tenants in common” property.
If an executor has been named in a will, they’re responsible for to complete the probate process. Wills that have no named executor will have one appointed by the courts.
Executors can enlist the help of an estate planning attorney to provide any resources needed in executing the will through probate. The estate’s assets can be used to cover legal and other costs associated with this process.
Executors have the legal authority to create an inventory of the assets of an estate and ensure that they are protected. Assets may need to be appraised or sold, and the executor will take the steps to meet the needs of the estate.
More importantly, probate allows the estate’s assets to be distributed to beneficiaries according to the wishes of the deceased person. This prevents any confusion that can lead to conflict between family members.
Probate is Not Required for Many Types of Assets
Your estate planning attorney can help you determine which assets aren’t required to go through probate. Estate plans that include measures to avoid probate are the ideal solution for avoiding the time and costs it requires.
Assets that were jointly owned by the deceased and their spouse will generally be excluded from the probate process.
Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) can be excluded from probate as well as 401(k)s and other retirement accounts that include a named beneficiary.
Some individuals establish a “payable on death” term for their bank accounts, which allow those assets to be protected from probate requirements.
Living trusts can be used to avoid costly probate legal processes.The proceeds from a life insurance policy, savings bonds, and securities can also be excluded from probate.
Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to determine what assets will need to go through probate. Smaller estates can use a summary probate if the value of the estate falls below the requirement for each state.
Minimizing the assets that need to go through probate can reduce costs associated with this process will expediting the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. It maximizes the value of your estate so that you can further secure the wellbeing of your loved ones.