Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

When someone dies, there are two types of assets that they can have, probate assets and non-probate assets. A probate asset is an asset that needs to be taken through probate to pass ownership to someone else. A non-probate asset passes outside of probate and there is no need for there to be anything done with the courts to transfer ownership after the death of the owner.

Examples of probate assets are real property, cars, money in bank accounts that do not have beneficiary designations. Basically, anything that needs to have a court order or someone with the authority to act on the behalf of the estate to transfer ownership of is a probate asset. There are ways to change most probate assets into non-probate assets, which will be discussed in another blog post, or you can contact our office for estate planning guidance.

Non-probate assets are things that can pass almost immediately after death to another. For example, if a bank account or IRA has a beneficiary designation, once the owner passes the beneficiary usually needs to present a death certificate and fill out a few forms for the assets to transfer to them.

While it is somewhat easier for assets to be transferred if the they are non-probate assets, Texas is one of the easiest states to have a probate in. However, there may still be some advantages to having some if not all of your assets set up to pass outside of probate at your death.


If this is something you are interested in knowing about in regard to your own estate, feel free to get in touch with our office and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

Byron C. Winborne

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