Estate Planning Basics: Transferring Property Upon Death
Estate Administration is the means by which an estate is passed on to the next generation, friends and charities. Coordinated advance planning permits savings of estate taxes, attorney fees, probate costs, time and “red tape” for your survivors. A well-prepared estate plan may consist of several documents including a Will and one or more trusts to carry out your goals and objectives.
Your Probate Estate includes everything you own individually in your sole name without any type of beneficiary designation.
Non-Probate Assets Bank or brokerage accounts and real estate are among the types of property that are often held as "joint with right of survivorship." Other assets that pass by contract directly to a designated beneficiary, such as life insurance or retirement accounts, also are non-probate assets.
Probate is the process by which your property is distributed to your beneficiaries under the supervision of the court in your local jurisdiction. In Virginia a Commissioner of Accounts oversees the process and audits the accounts of Executors (where there is a Last Will and Testament to guide the disposition of property to your beneficiaries) and Administrators of intestate estates (where there is no Will and the property passes according to state law).