With respect to determining what property goes into probate upon an individual’s death, there are two categories:
- Non-probate Property
- Probate Property
Non-probate property is real or personal property that is not part of your estate. Because the non-probate property is not viewed as part of your estate, it will not be a part of the probate procedure or suffer from any of the problems explained above and:
- Will not be dispersed according to your will
- Will not be distributed according to intestate succession statute (if there is no will)
- Will not be subject to the administration of your estate
- Will not be subject to your spouse’s claims (their elective share, for example)
Some Examples of non-probate properties include:
- Real and personal property maintained in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship
- Real and personal property transferred into a living trust registered as being owned by the trustee
- Money placed into a bank account that is payable to a beneficiary on death, such as a Totten Trust
- Assets payable to a named heir upon your death including the payoffs of a life insurance policy, annuity, occupation benefit contact, 401k, or IRA.
- Annual gifts of cash not surpassing the amount set by the IRS
When you pass away, each type of non-probate property will bypass probate and move directly to a named beneficiary or living joint tenant by contract or operation of law.
It is important to consult with a Colorado Probate Lawyer before making any decisions about estate planning.
A Colorado Springs Probate attorney can help you create documents that meet your specific needs and ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your unique situation.