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  • Writer's pictureOcampo Wiseman Law

Probate is Needed For Any Assets That You Cannot Obtain Without Going to Court



Introduction:

In this blog post, we dive into probate and its necessity for assets that can only be obtained by going to court. We'll specifically focus on bank accounts as common assets that may require probate if certain conditions aren't met. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of probate and shed light on why legal intervention becomes necessary in these situations.

Understanding Probate:

In the event that a deceased person leaves a will, state laws will govern how their desires are carried out. Probate is the legal procedure that manages the transfer of a deceased person's assets and guarantees that their wishes are carried out. Certain sorts of assets, like those that cannot be obtained without legal assistance, require court involvement even though probate is not necessary for all of them.

Bank Accounts and Probate:

Bank accounts are one such asset category that may require probate if there is no joint account holder or designated beneficiary listed. Frequently, individuals assume that their spouse or heir will automatically gain access to the deposited funds in case of their passing. However, with clear instructions and arrangements in place, this is the case.


Without a court order obtained through the probate process, banks are legally bound to freeze the accounts of the deceased individual, making those funds inaccessible to anyone else. This procedure exists to protect the rightful distribution of assets and ensure that all relevant parties have an opportunity to claim what they are entitled to.

Reasons for Probate:

When assets cannot be retrieved without going through the legal system, probate becomes required. The intervention of the court accomplishes several goals: it authenticates the will, if any, of the deceased person, settles disagreements about the assets or beneficiaries, settles tax and debt obligations, and finally distributes the remaining assets to the legitimate heirs.

Beyond Bank Accounts:

While bank accounts are often discussed with probate, it is essential to note that they are not the only type of asset that may require court involvement. Real estate, vehicles, investments, and other financial accounts (such as retirement or brokerage accounts) could also fall under the purview of the probate process if not planned or organized correctly.


Avoiding Probate:

Some people might look for ways to bypass the probate process because of its possible complications and delays. This could be accomplished by using payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) options, establishing joint ownership, naming beneficiaries, and drafting living trusts, among other estate planning techniques. Depending on your unique situation, speaking with an estate planning specialist might offer practical advice on how to avoid or reduce the need for probate.

To make sure that assets are dispersed in accordance with the decedent's wishes or applicable state laws, probate is a crucial legal procedure. If there isn't a designated joint account holder or beneficiary, assets like bank accounts might need to be probated. By being aware of the consequences of probate and getting competent legal advice while creating an estate plan, you may protect your assets and make the process of distributing them to your loved ones easier. Recall that certain assets can only be acquired through legal proceedings. The process of probate is required to reach a just and equitable conclusion.

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