Nonprobate assets are assets that are not distributed through you will. These assets pass to beneficiaries according to a document or other instrument in which you direct how the asset is to pass upon your death. Among the most widely understood nonprobate assets are life insurance policies and retirement plans where you name a beneficiary through the plan or policy documents. Nonprobate assets can also include financial accounts that are held jointly with right of survivorship or have a transfer on death designation.
It’s not uncommon for wills to be written years before a person dies, as factors involved in the aging process take hold. At the time of death, the executor should sign the will in court to begin the probate process. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes an executor dies first. Or an executor can decide they no longer want the job. So, what happens if you do not probate a will?