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Part of the probate process in Kansas is determining how to distribute the deceased’s property to heirs. In some cases, a person has a will that dictates what to do with his or her property after death. If there is no will or other estate-planning document, the state has laws that determine how to pass on the deceased’s property. However, not all property is subject to probate.

Some types of property and assets will not be distributed via probate. One such asset is life insurance. When a person obtains a life insurance policy, he or she will designate someone, for example a spouse or an adult child, as a beneficiary. After that, when the life insurance policyholder passes away, the beneficiary will automatically receive the funds therein. However, there are exceptions, such as if the beneficiary to the life insurance policy is also the executor to the estate of the policyholder.

In addition, spouses as joint tenants with right of survivorship can hold certain types of real property, such as land or a house. In these situations, the property will not go through probate, but instead the surviving joint tenant will automatically receive the property once the other joint tenant passes away. However, there may be tax consequences when it comes to such transfers.

Also, a “pay on death” provision may be made on a bank account. When this happens, the funds in the account, upon the account holder’s death, will go to a named person. Similarly, certain types of property such as real estate, automobiles and securities can have “transfer on death” provisions.

Having a will in place is one way to see that one’s property is passed to one’s heirs in the way one intended. However, wills still must go through probate. To learn more about what types of property will and will not go through probate, it may be helpful to seek the counsel of a trust & probate administration attorney.

Source: Kansas Bar Association, “What property is not included in the probate process?,” Accessed June 22, 2015