If you are an executor or administrator, getting clear on what assets go through probate is an important task because you have a responsibility to gather and protect all of the estate’s assets.
If you are not clear on what those assets are, you will not know when you are doing your job well versus when you are stepping beyond your authority.
My name is Erik Broel. I am the founder and 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.
Probate Assets and Nonprobate Assets
Probate assets are those assets that are considered to be a part of the estate and go through the probate process in court.
Probate assets are the executor or administrator’s responsibility to gather and manage.
Nonprobate assets go directly to an individual and do not go through the probate process in court.
As a result, the personal representative does not have a responsibility to gather or manage them.
It is the responsibility of the individual recipient to coordinate distribution of those nonprobate assets.
That said, it is not uncommon for the executor or administrator to assist the individual as needed.
Since the default rule is that all assets are probate assets unless there is an exception, most property will wind up being considered probate assets.
A few examples of assets that are usually probate property are:
- Bank accounts
- Personal belongings
- Some investment accounts
- Real estate that was only owned by the deceased
Real Estate: How is Ownership Structured?
It’s important to be aware that when real estate is owned by the deceased and another person, it required a deeper investigation because Georgia law allows the ownership to be structured in a couple of different ways.
If done one way (called tenants in common), the real estate is probate property. If done the other way (called joint tenants), the real estate is nonprobate 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 getting clear on what assets go through probate, 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.