Q: What type of property is not subject to Probate?
A: Generally, any personal property which contains a designated beneficiary does not pass through the Probate proceeding, unless your Estate is the designated beneficiary. Examples would include life insurance policies, retirement plans, and living trusts. These types of assets would pass to the designated beneficiary, regardless of the terms and language in your Last Will and Testament. Also, if you own real estate or personal property with someone in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, the real estate would pass to the surviving owner outside of the probate proceeding. These co-owners will inherit the property, regardless of the terms and language in your Last Will and Testament.
Q: What is a Guardianship?
A: A Guardianship is a legal court proceeding wherein a person requests to be appointed Guardian of a person (Ward). The purpose of the Guardianship is due to some disability by the Ward, such as minority, physical disability, or mental disability. The Guardian would have legal authority to care for the Ward, such as, taking the Ward to medical providers, bathing, transporting. A Guardianship would last as long as the Ward suffers from the subject disability or becomes deceased.
Q: What is a Conservatorship?
A: Like a Guardianship, a Conservatorship is a legal court proceeding wherein a person requests to be appointed for a person (Ward). Unlike a Guardianship, however, the appointed Conservator is taking care of the Ward’s personal and real property, not the actual Ward. The Conservator would have authority to do such things as access bank accounts, write checks, sell assets and preserve assets. A Conservatorship would last as long as the Ward suffers from the subject disability or becomes deceased.