Do Joint Accounts Go to Probate?

Certain assets can be held as “joint” property whether between spouses or other individuals. Often, when one of the joint-owners dies, the property may be transferred, in whole, automatically to the surviving owner—without going through probate. However, the manner in which joint ownership is set up will determine whether this is indeed the case. If not set up carefully, the deceased owner’s portion could indeed be part of their probate estate. Additionally, if all joint-owners die, with no additional joint-owner, then the property would likely become subject to probate with all other property. The use of joint accounts can make a lot of sense and be a valuable tool for some types of assets, especially between spouses, but every situation is unique. Comprehensive estate planning, utilizing all available planning tools, will usually result in the best, simplest and most desirable outcomes.