The assets you own today, and may use on a daily basis, are legally classified into two categories for estate planning purpose: Probate Assets and Non-Probate Assets. This post will discuss the difference between the two and how estate planning can assist in the most useful and efficient distribution of those assets when you are no longer here.
Non-Probate Assets: Some assets will transfer outside of your estate so, with or without a will, the same thing will likely happen and these assets will no be part of your will or intestate estate. Some examples of non-probate assets are:
Probate Assets: The are assets owned solely by the decedent and not held in trust or transfer-on-death (or payable-on-death) account. A will can control the disposition of these assets or, in the absence of a will, they will be distributed according to the intestate succession rules in North Carolina. Some examples of probate assets are:
While a will cannot direct the distribution of Non-Probate Assets, a thorough estate plan should encompass both Probate and Non-Probate Assets to make sure your beneficiaries are receiving the most benefit from your estate.