Does all property go through probate when a person dies?

No. The term “probate estate” refers to any property subject to the authority of the probate court. Assets distributed outside the probate process are part of a person’s “non-probate estate.”California has “simplified procedures” for transferring property for estates worth under a certain amount (from $20,000 to $100,000 depending on the circumstances and the kind of property).There is also an easy way to transfer property to a surviving spouse, property held in Joint Tenancy and life insurance and retirement benefits.

Do life insurance or retirement benefits need to go through probate?

No. The benefits can be paid directly to a named beneficiary. Money from IRAs, Keoghs, and 401(k) accounts transfer automatically to the persons named as beneficiaries. Bank accounts that are set up as pay-on-death accounts (PODs) or “in trust for” accounts (a “Totten Trust”) with a named beneficiary also pass to the beneficiary without probate.

Do living trusts go through probate?

No. When a living trust holds title to some of the decedent’s property, that property also passes to the beneficiaries without probate.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

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