Probate and Non-Probate Transfers

Dealing with the death of a loved one is already difficult enough, therefore we understand how taxing the challenges of handling a deceased person’s estate can be. When a person passes away without a surviving spouse to handle their property, their home, car, bank accounts, and other assets need to be distributed. Their assets will ultimately go through probate if the deceased only provides a will, dies “intestate”, or passes away without a drafted will.

Probate refers to the distribution of a deceased person’s estate, which can be outlined in a valid will. The probate court is then granted the task of overseeing the gathering of assets, debt settlements, and distribution of one’s estate to its heirs.

In California, if estate assets are worth more than $166,250.00 and qualify for probate, the property may only be distributed to its beneficiaries after undergoing probate. However, not all property is defined as a probate asset. In fact, many types of property are deemed “non-probate assets”, which protects them from a probate court’s interference.

Non‐probate assets include life insurance benefits, retirement benefits, community property, and more. Although probate may not be necessary when transferring the property to the beneficiary, paperwork will need to be submitted to the court to clarify the sole ownership of property.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced California probate attorney for further guidance, as qualification can turn on minor factual issues. Law Offices of Taline Panossian is experienced in helping loved ones navigate California’s probate rules to guarantee that the estate administration process runs as smoothly as possible. Obtaining legal counsel from an attorney can provide you with guidance and clarity while navigating this otherwise difficult situation.