Estate Planning Law
Are there other ways of leaving property to my beneficiaries other than through a will or a trust?
Yes, assets generally pass after your death in one of three ways. The first way is by will. In order for an asset to pass by will, it must go through the probate process. The second way is by operational law. An example of operational by law would be, the joint ownership of property such as joint ownership of the right of survivorship, tenants in common, or tenancy by the entirety as between husband and wife. The last way that assets pass is by contract. By contract usually includes the notion of a beneficiary designation that is put on file with a custodian of those assets, such as the custodian of an IRA or retirement account. Life insurance policies and annuities are other examples of where beneficiary designations control the descent of assets after you die.