Not all items go through probate, so it is important to know what does have to go through probate and what does not.  Anything the deceased owned — in his or her name alone — may have to go through probate.  We can help you determine what property is part of the probate estate and what will not go through probate.  Some of the assets that do not go through probate include:


  • Joint property:  This includes bank accounts, vehicles or properties that are owned by more than just the deceased.  In certain situations, the survivor may automatically own the property upon the joint account holder’s death.  We can assist you with making this determination.
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts: A payable-on-death bank account automatically goes to the beneficiary.
  • Life insurance proceeds: If the life insurance policy specifies a beneficiary, the policy pays that person and does not go through probate.
  • Retirement accounts: If the retirement account specifies a beneficiary, the funds go to that person without the need for probate.
  • Living trust assets: Assets may have a name of a trustee for a living trust specified, and in this case, these assets do not have to go through probate court.