Oct 21, 2021
Who to Notify First After a Death
We’re here to help you navigate the days and months to come and take as much off your plate as possible.
Fortunately, not every estate has to go through probate. Some estates bypass it altogether, while others still go through probate but can get away with a shorter process. Whether or not the estate goes through probate depends on the will and the assets involved.
We regularly share relevant information about wills and estates.
Typically, assets with a designated beneficiary don't have to go through probate. These assets pass directly to the beneficiary, meaning that the probate court doesn't have to transfer ownership. However, simply naming a person in the will doesn't make them a beneficiary. Assets with beneficiaries include life insurance, pensions, and other accounts where you can directly attach someone's name to the asset.
Jointly owned property also passes directly to the survivor. Jointly owned property could include cars, bank accounts, real estate, and other assets with two legally recognized owners.
Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) typically don't go through probate. Since these funds have beneficiaries attached, they transfer directly to the person named in the asset. The funds could be added to the survivor's existing RRSPs or RRIFs.
Finally, setting up a trust could reduce or eliminate the probate process. When the decedent sets up a trust, they place assets in the trust and name a beneficiary. Technically, they don't own these assets once they've placed them in the trust. The assets go directly to the beneficiary after their death with no need for a property transfer.
If everything in the estate transfers directly to the beneficiaries, the estate might not have to go through probate. This includes retirement accounts, joint financial accounts, and jointly held real estate.
Some assets must go through probate. Here's some assets that commonly go through probate:
Ultimately, it's the executor's responsibility to gather the assets, figure out their value and help transfer them to the beneficiaries. If you're an estate executor, ClearEstate offers professional help during the long and often challenging process.
When you accept the responsibility of becoming an estate executor, you'll have to gather the assets, contact relatives, pay bills, file income taxes and perform other tasks before you can settle the estate. This might sound overwhelming, especially if you've never managed a will before. ClearEstate offers access to attorneys, accountants and other experts who help you through every step of the probate process.
Some executors have lost a chunk of the estate simply by paying unnecessary fees. ClearEstate shows you how to save money so you can distribute as much of the original estate as possible. You'll also get access to technology like an executor dashboard that keeps all your information in one place. Contact us today to learn more about ClearEstate.