Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Will all my assets have to go through Probate?

Joseph S. Karp

People want to know: When I die, what goes through Probate court? Is everything probated that I own? The answer is no. Certain assets avoid probate automatically. Those are assets that are titled joint with right of survivorship with somebody, because the survivor will get it. Or if it’s titled as husband and wife, it is owned together and when one dies, it automatically goes to the other. Then of course there are beneficiary-designated accounts. Commonly that’s with IRAs, sometimes bank accounts and certainly with insurance policies. The assets that get probated are the individual assets that are titled in your own name, and have no co-owner and no beneficiary, and therefore the financial institution has no authority to distribute them to anybody. That asset goes through the Probate Court so the court can designate that the Personal Representative can take control of that asset, and distribute it to the appropriate beneficiaries.