Probate Vs. Non-Probate Assets

••• Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Pawel Loj

Probate Assets

In general, any item exceeding $20,000 in value is considered a probate asset. The courts will assess taxes and charges against an asset based on its value, then distribute it according to the will.

Non-Probate Assets

Examples of non-probate assets include money market, CD and pension accounts; life insurance; and annuities, as long as each is valued under $20,000.

Cost

The greatest costs of probate are the paperwork, publication of notices, public court hearings and creditor checks. The prices for such services depend on the jurisdiction and are set by the statutes or courts.

Alternatives

In some states, wills are constructed as trusts to avoid probate. Legislation and laws allowing such loopholes vary from state to state.

Structure

Trusts and joint tenancy's create avenues to avoid what some see as excessive taxation of valuable goods, especially when transferred to family members.

References

About the Author

Nabeel Alexander was first published in the "Knox College McNair Journal," 2001 and 2002, as a member of McNair Fellowship which emphasizes writing, research, and editing. On June 15, 2009, Alexander was certified to practice law in the state of Connecticut. He holds a Juris Doctor from Boston College.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Pawel Loj