When someone passes away, their estate will typically go through a legal process called probate. Probate is a court-supervised process that involves validating a will, identifying and appraising the assets of the estate, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
However, not all assets are subject to probate. In this blog post, we will discuss what assets are and are not subject to probate in Missouri.
Assets That Are Subject to Probate
Solely Owned Assets: Assets that are solely owned by the decedent are subject to probate. This includes assets such as real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, and personal property unless they are payable to a named beneficiary.
Life Insurance Policies: Life insurance policies are typically considered assets of the estate and are subject to probate unless they are payable to a named beneficiary.
Retirement Accounts: Retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s are generally considered assets of the estate and are subject to probate unless they have a named beneficiary.
Assets That Are Not Subject to Probate
Jointly Owned Assets: Assets that are jointly owned with a right of survivorship are not subject to probate. When one joint owner passes away, the ownership of the asset automatically passes to the surviving joint owner.
Assets in Trust: Assets that are held in a trust are not subject to probate. When the trust is established, the assets are transferred to the trust, and the trust becomes the legal owner of the assets. The trust then specifies how the assets will be distributed after the grantor’s death.
Payable on Death Accounts: Accounts such as bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts can have a payable on death (POD) designation. When the account owner passes away, the account automatically transfers to the named beneficiary without going through probate.
In conclusion, not all assets are subject to probate, and it’s essential to understand what assets are and are not subject to probate. If you are in Missouri and need assistance with estate planning or probate, contact Polaris Estate Planning & Elder Law. We can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.