When Do You Have to Probate a Will?

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If You Die Without a Will is Probate Necessary?....5

Probating a will takes place whenever someone dies with his or her name on an asset, like a bank account, car or house. Educate yourself on probating a will with an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Part of the Video Series: Estate Planning
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Video Transcript

You have to probate a will when somebody dies and their name is on an asset that has a title to it. So, a bank account. Typically if the deceased died, and the deceased's name was on the bank account, you have to go through probate because the financial institution, the bank, won't let the heirs come in and take control of the money because frankly the bank is concerned about getting sued if they give the money to the wrong person. So, at the end of the probate process, or maybe not exactly at the end, but somewhere in the probate process, the family, the executor--maybe sometimes called the administrator of this estate--will get the court's permission to go to the bank and get the money that's in the deceased's account, and then that person's job is to hold it and distribute it to the heirs according to the deceased's will, or if the deceased died without a will, according to what the law says in the particular state where the deceased died in. So, probate is important when somebody dies with their name on the asset, and it's not an asset that automatically transfers to somebody else. Joint tenancy with a right of survivorship means if I die it goes to exactly immediately to the person who's on the account with me. Life insurance, retirement accounts, annuities, don't go through probate either. You can even put things like a transfer on death on a stock account, a payable on death on a bank account or a credit union account, that will go directly to that person without going through probate.

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