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Many people believe that when they die, all of their assets must go through the probate process in order to pass on to their heirs. This is not true, however.
In fact, quite a few of your assets will pass directly to their intended recipients when you die.
Assets to Probate
Fidelity explains that your following assets require probate:
- Personal property
- Real estate you own with someone else as tenants in common
- Assets you bequeath by will
Your other assets, including the following, pass directly to your intended beneficiaries:
- The property you own jointly with someone else, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, etc.
- Property on which you have placed a payable on death or transfer on death designation
- Real estate you own with someone else as joint tenants with right of survivorship
- Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. on which you have placed a beneficiary designation
- Assets you have placed in a trust for the benefit of a named beneficiary
Consequently, if you wish to avoid probate and the time and expenses it entails, you likely will want to make as many of your assets as possible exempt, foregoing leaving them to your heirs by means of your last will and testament.
Nevertheless, if you die without having made a will, Ohio law will distribute your nonexempt property and assets to your heirs according to its intestacy laws. This means that your probate estate will pass to your surviving spouse, children and other more distant relatives in the percentages prescribed by law rather than according to any wishes you may have had.