In the state of Utah, the purpose of probate proceeding is to enact an orderly process where the assets of a deceased person are legally transferred to other people, usually a person’s heirs and beneficiaries. Order is key in probate, because of the disputes that can arise over who is the rightful owner of a loved one’s assets.
Because of this, it is helpful to know what assets can be transferred without the need for probate. This post will highlight a few of them.
Life insurance proceeds –The proceeds of a life insurance policy usually does not have to pass through probate because beneficiaries are clearly identified within the policy. Essentially, once an insurer is properly notified of a policyholder’s death, the proceeds can be distributed to the beneficiaries without the need for probate.
Real property held in joint tenancy – When property is titled in this manner, a person’s interest in property automatically passes to the next surviving tenant (usually the person’s spouse) when the property owner passes away. In these instances, the interest in property does not have to be transferred through probate court.
While these are prime examples, there are other assets that can be easily transferred without probate when they are properly designated. However, this does not completely eliminate disputes that may arise over ownership, or any other legal claims against the deceased that could be satisfied by filing lawsuits against the estate.
If you have questions about the probate process in Utah, an experienced estate planning attorney can help.