What Assets Go Through Probate?


Whether an estate goes through probate or not, depends on how the decedent held assets and what types of as­sets were owned at the time of death. Certain assets have to go through probate, other assets do not.

The following is a list of assets that typically avoids probate:

  • Jointly held property with rights of survivorship
  • Life insurance and annuities with a named beneficiary
  • Retirement plans, IRAs, and pensions with a named beneficiary
  • Assets held in a Living Trust at the time of a decedent’s death
  • Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts
  • Transfer on Death (TOD) affidavits for real estate
  • Transfer on Death (TOD) stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts
  • Transfer on Death (TOD) automobile titles

All other assets that are titled in the decedent’s individual name alone or where no beneficiary is named must go through probate.