Assets that Avoid Probate

If you have a spouse, child or other person that is financially dependent on you, they may need immediate access to funds from your estate in the event of your death. As such, you will need to consider how you can transfer some or all of your assets to them in a manner that will avoid probate.


This can be achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, you can avail of some of the probate free transfer devices such as pay on death bank accounts, transfer on death securities or even life policies with designated beneficiaries. In each case, you can nominate a beneficiary for the proceeds of the account/policy and the financial institution holing same will quickly arrange the transfer of the proceeds to the named beneficiary upon production of your death certificate. These methods provide a great source of readily available funds following your death.


Secondly, you could transfer your assets to a living trust. Assets held in a living trust will not become part of your probatable estate because the assets are not held in your name. This allows them to avoid probate and be quickly distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust following your death.


Thirdly, you can convert assets that you own solely into jointly owned assets. Where assets are jointly owned, it is possible to designate that a right of survivorship will apply to these assets. This means that when one of the joint owners dies, the asset will pass directly to the surviving joint owner – without the need for probate. Of course, the joint owner can be a friend or relative; and the assets can comprise of anything from real estate to cash in a bank account. Thus, in the same way as the other devices mentioned above, the surviving joint owner can quickly claim ownership of the asset following your death by simply producing a certified copy of your death certificate.


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Executors Guide to Probate

How To Probate An Estate - A Step-By-Step Guide for Executors


This book is essential reading for anyone contemplating acting as an executor of someone’s estate! Learn about the various stages of probate and what an executor needs to do at each stage to successfully navigate his way through to closing the estate and distributing the deceased’s assets.

Published December 2010

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