Senior Connection Expo
October 12, 2018
CATEGORIES OF DECEDENT’S ASSETS
- Determine whether assets are in joint tenancy or community property with right of survivorship or have beneficiary designations such as pay on death or transfer on death or have named beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, or retirement plans. These assets are not part of the probate estate or governed by a will unless the named beneficiaries have all predeceased or the estate is specifically named as a beneficiary.
- Determine which assets are titled in the name of a trust. These assets are not part of the probate estate and are not governed by a will.
- Determine which assets do not fall into categories one and two. These are the assets that are titled in the decedent’s name and don’t have co-title owners with right of survivorship, beneficiary designations (other than a beneficiary that is the estate) and are not titled into the name of a trust. Divide those assets into two categories: real property and personal property. Everything except real property is considered personal property.
IS A PROBATE COURT PROCEEDING REQUIRED?
- Add up the value of all of the real property potentially subject to probate. If the total value of all of the real property combined based on property tax assessed value minus liens and encumbrances is more than $100,000, then a probate proceeding with the Court will be required.
- Add up the value of all the personal property (technically, this should also include the value of the decedent’s tangible personal property, i.e. furniture, jewelry, clothing, appliances, and other household items) and if the total is more than $75,000, then a probate proceeding with the Court will be required.
- Note that for married couples the decedent’s property interests include all of the decedent’s separate property (i.e. property acquired prior to the marriage that was kept separately from the marital funds and property acquired during the marriage through inheritance or gift or by exchange for other separate property) plus fifty percent of any community property (i.e. property acquired by either spouse during the marriage other than by inheritance, gift, or exchange of separate property). Separate property includes all property the decedent acquired by the decedent before the marriage and kept separate and all the property he acquired by gift or inheritance during the course of the marriage and kept separate.