Estate planning attorneys are likely to receive the question, “what are testamentary assets?” Many people are aware of the terms will, testamentary and probate. Further, many people are aware that there are means by which to avoid probate, but they still do not fully understand what a testamentary asset is. The article below has been drafted by an estate planning attorney in Denver to provide a little insight as to what constitutes testamentary assets.
Testamentary assets are those assets that are part of an individual’s probate estate and are subject to the probate court process at death. Sometimes these assets are also referred to as “probate” assets. Examples of testamentary or probate assets are below. Assets held in fee simple (100% individual ownership) whereby there is full and absolute ownership and no other owners with survivorship interests. Thus, it could be a bank account, house, stock certificate whereby there is no payable on death designation or survivor interest. Property held as tenants in common would be a testamentary asset. Tenants in common could be defined as two or more people owning property without rights of survivorship. Under this situation, each tenant’s ownership interest will become part of their probate estate and therefore distributed to the individuals designated in their will and last testament. As a tenant in common, you absolutely own your percentage share in the property. You may sell the interest during your lifetime or you can leave the interest to your chose beneficiaries upon your death.
As you may have inferred from the above information, there can be ways by which assets can avoid probate. Some people do not care if their assets go through probate, while others feel strongly that their assets not pass through the probate process. Many people think probate is costly, time consuming and troublesome for their loved ones. It is possible to defer or avoid probate by titling assets, holding assets in trust, establishing beneficiary designations, establishing payable on death designations or holding property in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship. Some of the above options work well in certain circumstances, but there can be potential disadvantages as well. The options to avoid probate will be discussed in future articles.
Please contact The McGuire Law Firm to speak with a Denver estate planning attorney regarding your estate plan and related questions. We offer all potential clients a free consultation and estate plans that are affordable and fit your needs.
A free consultation can be scheduled with a Denver estate planning attorney by contacting The McGuire Law Firm.