What’s better, probate or nonprobate assets? 

In the context of avoiding probate, it would seem non-probate assets would be. You see, with non-probate assets, your heirs don’t have to worry about the probate process. These assets will pass directly to them as soon as they receive your death certificate.

You should take note though that non-probate property doesn’t always end up in the hands of your intended beneficiaries. There are cases where creditors could go after those assets.

This is where understanding the difference between probate and non-probate assets helps a lot. The more you know about them, the more you can make informed decisions when either planning your estate or navigating the probate process after the loss of a loved one. 

Still a bit confused? Don’t worry. Here are 4 things that will help clarify the differences between what’s considered a probate and non-probate asset in Georgia.

1. What Are Probate Assets?

The key to understanding probate vs. non-probate assets lies in the decedent’s last will and testament. (Note: Decedent means deceased person).

Anything – from real estate to financial accounts to personal property named in the decedent’s last will and testament – is considered probate or probate-able assets. 

It also means that these assets have to go through the probate process. Now, this process can get somewhat complicated, especially if the executor of the will is out of state.

In this case, it’s best to get help from someone who knows the ins and outs of the Georgia probate process and procedure.

2. What Are Non-Probate Assets?

Non-probate assets aren’t governed by the decedent’s or testator’s last will. So these don’t have to go through probate and can pass directly to the named beneficiary, joint owner, or remainderman.

Examples of non-probate assets include jointly owned assets with survivorship rights, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, property held in a trust, and so on. It’s important for anyone who’s planning their estate to review their beneficiary designations. 

This way, your properties, especially jointly owned ones will be distributed according to your wishes.

3. Which Is Better for Estate Planning?

Some people hear the term ‘probate,’ and immediately associate it with expensive fees, lots of time and effort. They want to avoid it at all costs if possible.

But having only non-probate assets isn’t a guarantee your heirs wouldn’t encounter legal problems later on. That’s why during the estate planning stage, you need an experienced Georgia probate lawyer who can explain your options in detail. 

4. How Can I Learn More About Probate and Non-Probate Assets?

Aside from consulting with an attorney, you can research online to know more about probate vs. non-probate assets.

Don’t forget to take notes and make a list of things you’re not so sure about. This way, when you do go in for your consultation, you’ll know exactly what to ask. 

Need Help with Understanding Probate? Contact Brian Douglas & Associates Today! 

The probate process can be stressful and difficult to understand. Contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates at  (770) 933-9009 today for a consultation!