Property can be owned in many different ways. Ownership helps determine how property is transferred to beneficiaries, and whether it is probate or non-probate estate. Examples of probate property that may transfer to beneficiaries through a will or probate include:
• These are assets owned in the name of a single owner with no automatic transfer arrangements, such as the house or land you own individually.
• These assets ar e owned as tenants-in-common with another person, such as the property and land you own together with your sibling, friend or life partner.
There are several types of non-pr obate property:
• These ar e assets owned with another wher e the surviving joint tenant automatically takes full ownership without going through probate.
Many types of property pass from one owner to another by virtue of contractual provisions:
• Life Insurance: A life insurance policy beneficiary receives the policy proceeds at death.
• Retirement Account with Designated Beneficiary: The beneficiary named in an IRA gets the property at the death of the owner by virtue of the beneficiary designation.
• Government: Dictates how and when some property is transferred, such as qualified retirement plans, which must pay benefits to a surviving spouse.
• Revocable trusts ar e the final way that pr operty can pass fr om one individual to another without going thr ough probate. This is why revocable trusts are used as a preferred means of transferring property.