A recent probate case, In re Maynard, deals with the issue of failing to identify beneficiaries when using non-probate assets.
A non-probate asset is defined as a financial or legal instrument that designates a beneficiary as part of its legal function. By doing so, the instrument passes outside of probate. Some common examples of potential non-probate assets are:
- Retirement accounts, such as IRA’s and 401K’s;
- Insurance policies;
- Beneficiary deeds for real property;
- Real estate deeds that are held joint tenants with right of survivorship; and
- Stock options.