Do Bank Accounts Go Through Probate?

Envelope with a gavel on top and a paper coming out reading probate at the top

Probate is a court proceeding that takes place after a person passes. It will establish the validity of a will and the distribution of property according to the will. The probate process can vary from state to state, but it generally includes determining whether there is a valid will and who the executor should be. The executor can make sure that he distributes all of the deceased person's property according to the instructions in the will.

How Does Probate Work?

The executor, or someone appointed by the will-maker, presents the will to the court. The court then decides whether the person who appointed executor has notarized documents that prove they are legally alive and are capable of making decisions for themselves.

The lawyer gives a copy of the will to the beneficiaries and makes an inventory of all assets public. If there are debts, the lawyer notifies the creditors about the collection through probate.

Why Do Bank Accounts Go Through Probate?

When a person dies without a will, the court will declare them as intestate, and their property will go through the probate process.

Intestacy is a state in which a person dies without leaving behind a valid will or any other indication of how he wished to distribute his property at death. It could be because the person did not bother to make a will, died suddenly and unexpectedly, or died with no living relatives.

In this case, the heirs can initiate probate proceedings. In some cases, if the deceased person has no assets to be passed down from an estate, then there is no need for probate proceedings because it may not be necessary to appoint an executor or administrator for their estate.

Stages of Probate?

Deceased people can no longer operate their bank accounts. But someone has to manage it after death. The person that is authorized to do so is called an executor. He will have full access to all the financial assets of the deceased person.

These assets include bank accounts, property, investments, and others. The executor is responsible for liquidating them and using the money for paying any taxes or debts of the deceased person.

Probate goes through three stages:

1) The executor of the will prove the deceased person appointed him before the court can recognize him as the executor;

2) After proving his appointment, the executor is responsible for the assets and debts of the deceased person, which includes distributing assets to beneficiaries or paying off any debts owed;

3) Finally, if there are any assets the deceased left over after they have paid all debts off and made distributions, then the remaining assets need to go through an intestacy. If there's no will and the person dies without children or spouse, state law determines who gets those assets.

What Are the Advantages of Probating Bank Accounts?

There may be no beneficiaries, and the state will have to distribute the funds according to its guidelines which may not be what the deceased person wanted.

Probate allows other people to check creditors cannot take advantage of you by taking out loans in your name or running up other debts on your behalf.

Battlefront Legal is an estate planning law firm that handles all the necessary legal documents for Las Vegas and Reno residents. It works with individuals, couples, and families on wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents.

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