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There is a common misunderstanding that if you have a will your heirs will not have to go through the Probate court process. At your death, your property falls into one of two categories, probate property, and non-probate property.

The non-probate property is property that has a beneficiary, like a life insurance policy, with a listed beneficiary or an investment account with a beneficiary. Other types of probate property are joint tenancy real estate, bank accounts with a beneficiary, or a pay on death clause; these assets are transferred outside of any will that you sign.

Probate property is any property that is stuck in your name at your death. This includes any investment accounts that do not have beneficiaries, any real estate owned by you in your own name without joint ownership or transfer on death agreements. Any assets at your death that are probate property requires the court to appoint someone as the personal representative giving that person the authority to transfer those assets.

Estate planning to avoid probate involves much more than simply drafting a will. If you want to discuss your options, please give us a call, and we can set up a no cost review of your needs.

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