What assets do and do not pass under a will?
In Texas, there are two types of assets – probate and non-probate assets. Probate assets are assets that pass under a person's will. Non-probate assets do not pass under the terms of a will, but instead pass under other terms. For example, non-probate assets may pass under a beneficiary designation or because an asset is jointly owned or owned by a trust.
Probate Assets Pass Under a Will
In Texas, assets that commonly pass under a testator's will include:
- Real property, both surface rights and mineral interests.
- Bank and brokerage accounts, Certificates of Deposit, stocks, and bonds (depending on whether there is a beneficiary designation).
- One-half of any Individual Retirement Accounts which are considered community property owned by the testator's spouse.
- Tangible personal property, both titled and untitled.
- Royalties generated from intellectual property.
- Money owed to the testator at the time of his/her death.
Non-Probate Assets Do No Pass Under a Will
Assets that generally do not pass under a will in Texas include:
- Life insurance.
- Some employer provided retirement plans in which the testator is the participant.
- Employer provided retirement plans in which the testator's spouse is the participant.
- Individual retirement accounts owned solely by the testator.
- Property owned in a trust of which the testator is a beneficiary.
There are instances where some of the assets described above may be passed under a will. One common example occurs when the estate or will executor is named as the beneficiary for one or more of the assets listed.
For Help in Probating an Estate
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether assets should be passed under a will. It can also be tricky to determine whether a probate is even needed. If you need a Montgomery probate attorney to help you determine the character of certain assets or for help in probating a loved one's estate, contact Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-70174.