Determining what assets are included in an estate after someone passes away, is a key issue.
All property that the deceased owned must be put into one of two categories: it is either a probate asset or a nonprobate asset. The property is handled differently depending on which category that property is in.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
Each item of the deceased’s property must be put into one of two categories: it is either a probate asset or a nonprobate asset. These categories help us determine what assets are included in the estate.
Probate assets are considered to be part of the probate estate. That means that they are governed by the probate court process and managed by the executor or administrator of the estate.
Probate assets are subject to creditor’s claims, which means that the executor or administrator could be forced to sell them if the estate does not have enough funds to pay its debts.
Probate assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will, or Georgia law if there is no will.
Nonprobate assets are not considered part of the probate estate.
Instead, nonprobate assets go directly to an individual and skip probate all together.
That means that they are not governed by the probate court process and are not managed by the executor or administrator.
Nonprobate assets are not subject to creditor claims and a creditor cannot force the recipient of a nonprobate asset to use it to pay an estate debt.
Since nonprobate assets go directly to an individual and do not go into the estate, nonprobate assets are not governed by the will.
The default rule is that all assets are considered probate assets unless there is an exception that would cause the property to be considered non probate property.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice. If you are in a situation where you need help determining what assets are included in the estate, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.