By Carolyn E. Hartle, Esquire, Dec 11 2017 03:05PM
QUESTION: WHAT ASSETS AVOID PROBATE?
Answer: The following assets are non-probate assets and avoid probate:
Life insurance policies, annuities, & IRAs;
Joint bank accounts or investment accounts;
Assets held in a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust; and
Bank accounts or investment accounts designated as follows: transfer on death, payable on death, or held “in trust for” an individual.
The assets set forth above either pass to the Beneficiary named on the life insurance policy, annuity, IRA, or to individuals named in the Trust. With respect to the bank accounts, these accounts pass directly to the surviving owners on the joint account or to the individual named as the Beneficiary on accounts owned solely by the Decedent.
However, if an individual fails to name a Beneficiary on life insurance policies, IRAs, & annuities, then the Estate of the Decedent becomes the Beneficiary and these assets will now be distributed via the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament and not avoid probate.