Do Life Insurance or Retirement Benefits Have to Go Through Probate?

Life-insurance-upturn We acquire so many assets over the course of our lives now—bank accounts, stocks, real property, life insurance, retirement, and more—it’s sometimes confusing to know what has to go through probate and what doesn’t.

The answer to the question above is: life insurance and retirement benefits do not have to go through probate if the account has a named beneficiary. Benefits from life insurance accounts can be paid directly to the named beneficiary, and money from IRAs, Keoghs, 401(k)  and other retirement accounts transfer automatically to the named beneficiaries of those accounts as well. The persons named as beneficiary, however, will most likely want to consult with an attorney or a financial advisor to determine what needs to be done with the proceeds from these accounts.

Yet another type of account that is not subject to probate is a payable-on-death (or POD) account, the money from which can pass directly to the named beneficiary upon the death of the owner.

Probate laws vary from state to state, so contact our office for more information.