There are primarily three types of properties that do not go through the probate process. This property will transfer outside of probate regardless of what a person listed in their will. Non-probate assets include: 

  • Property that is held jointly with survivorship rights.
  • Community property that is only available for married couples if they own property or live in Alaska, California, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Nevada or Wisconsin.

If an individual determines, prior to passing away, that the property he or she owns directly is not appropriately titled to avoid probate, it is possible to change the title document using a tool known as a quitclaim deed. Another section of property that passes outside of the probate process in California is property with a designated beneficiary.

Banks and similar financial accounts such as IRAs will require the filing of beneficiary designation forms and life insurance policies also have designated beneficiaries. Upon death, the funds will be paid to the beneficiary regardless of what is listed in the will. For certain other kinds of properties such as bonds, securities and stocks, a beneficiary designation is known as a transfer on death.

Finally, any property that has been appropriately titled into a trust, whether revocable or irrevocable, does not have to be probated. If you have questions about establishing a trust or using other estate planning tools, schedule a consultation with a lawyer today.


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