What Is a Probate Estate?


Quick Answer

A probate estate is the portion of a deceased person's estate that passes to her heirs pursuant to statute, says LegalMatch. The property included in a probate estate varies by state.

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Full Answer

The property a decedent owns passes to her heirs or beneficiaries by different means depending on the type of property. Only property solely owned by the decedent is subject to court control and included in the probate estate, according to Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale. Property jointly owned as joint tenants or tenants by the entireties passes automatically to the heirs or beneficiaries without the need for probate.

Likewise, property transferred during the decedent's life to a trust and property that transfers via contract, such as life insurance, is not included in the probate estate, states Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale. Transfer on death and payable on death designations also remove assets from the probate estate.

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