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Photo of a man receiving his probated assets

Understanding the difference between probate and non-probate assets is important when preparing your estate plan. Probate is the legal process for distributing your property after you die.

Creating an estate plan will allow your loved ones to avoid probate and will ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. As experienced estate planning attorneys, Abrate & Olsen Law Group will take the time to understand your unique situation and help you prepare an estate plan that meets your needs.

You can rest assured that we will thoroughly explain all the estate planning tools available and provide guidance on how to help your beneficiaries avoid probate. Continue reading to find out the difference between probate and non-probate assets.

Find out more information from our experienced probate and estate planning attorneys!

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What are probate assets?

Probate assets are anything owned by a deceased person that does not have a designated beneficiary. In order to transfer the probate assets to a living beneficiary, a court-supervised probate process must take place. The probate court will distribute the assets in accordance with applicable law. Probate assets can consist of the following:

  • Individually owned property
  • Assets left out of a trust
  • Life insurance that lists the decedent or estate as the beneficiary
  • Bank accounts that are solely owned
  • Personal property, such as vehicles, jewelry, and furniture

What are non-probate assets?

Non-probate assets are not required to go through the probate process. The assets will instead be transferred directly to the living beneficiary that was designated. Beneficiaries can quickly claim non-probate assets without the probate court. Non-probate assets can consist of the following:

  • Property held in a trust
  • Property owned jointly or as tenants
  • Bank accounts held jointly or with payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) beneficiaries.
  • Life insurance that lists someone other than the decedent as the beneficiary
  • Retirement accounts

An estate plan is the best way to ensure that your assets are distrubted according to your wishes while also protecting your beneficiaries from a lengthy and costly probate process. Contact the experienced lawyers at Abrate & Olsen Law Group for a free consultation to discuss the best estate planning options for your unique situation.


“My experience of setting up an Estate Plan with Abrate & Olsen was wonderful. They made me feel comfortable with the whole process. Extremely professional and organized.”
~ Richard L. – Camptonville, CA

Experienced Legal Professionals

When you are ready, Abrate & Olsen Law Group are here to help you and your family through any legal counsel. Contact our law office to schedule a FREE consultation today.

(916) 550-2688