Are all assets subject to the probate process?
In Washington, probate may be necessary when:
1. A person dies leaving property in his or her own name (such as a house titled only in the name of the decedent) or having rights to receive property, without a designated beneficiary
2. The estate is worth over $100,000.
Essentially, the only assets that are subject to probate are those held in Decedent’s name without designated beneficiaries (other than his/her estate) on death. Below are examples of assets which may be subject to the probate process:
Examples of Probate Assets:
· Decedent’s property inherited upon the deaths of his/her parents, as his/her separate property.
· Decedent’s home, as to his/her one-half interest in community property.
· Decedent’s interest in a vacation home, a boat, or an airplane, as a tenant-in-common with other joint owners.
· A life insurance policy owned by Decedent on his/her life and whose named beneficiary is the estate.
· Decedent’s IRA or a Keogh Plan for his/her benefit and whose named beneficiary upon his/her death is his/her estate.
Examples of Nonprobate Assets:
· Decedent’s car, as a joint tenant (ie, with right of survivorship).
· Decedent’s bank account, payable on death (“POD”) to one of Decedent’s children.
· Decedent’s securities account, transferable on death (“TOD”) to Decedent’s Trustee.
· Property subject to a valid Community Property Agreement, transferable to Decedent’s surviving spouse.
· A life insurance policy owned by Decedent on his/her life and whose named beneficiary is other than his/her estate (eg, his/her spouse or children).
· Decedent’s IRA or Keogh Plan for his/her benefit and whose named beneficiary upon his/her death is other than his/her estate (eg, his/her spouse or children).
· Property held in trust for the benefit of Decedent and whose named beneficiary upon his/her death is other than his/her estate (eg, Decedent’s Revocable Living Trust held for (i) his/her benefit during his/her life and (ii) his/her spouse or children following his/her death).