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How to handle joint assets during probate

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2021 | Probate & Estate Administration |

Any assets held in a Kentucky estate at the time of a person’s death will likely need to go through probate. If your name appears on any assets that were held in the deceased person’s estate, it may be a good idea to disclose that fact to other potential beneficiaries.

What happens to joint assets in probate?

If you were designated as the beneficiary of a bank, brokerage or other type of account, you will become its new owner when the current one passes away. However, if no such declaration was made, the fate of a given asset likely depends on the language of your deceased family member’s will. In the event that an individual dies intestate, a judge will need to examine the relevant facts of the matter to determine who it belongs to.

Why you should disclose that your name is on an account

As a general rule, transparency during the probate process can reduce the chances of a legal challenge. Furthermore, it may make it easier for a probate attorney to provide you with accurate advice as it relates to how a deceased loved one’s property should be allocated. It’s important to note that disclosing the existence of a joint account won’t necessarily weaken your claim to it. Conversely, it won’t necessarily strengthen the claims of others who may believe that they are entitled to a portion of a given item.

An attorney may be able to help you develop an estate plan that is likely to be enforced by a judge. Minimizing the risk of a legal challenge may help to ensure that your final wishes are carried out in a timely manner.