A transfer of property at death from a decedent to another without the need for a probate proceeding. Such transfers can be made through a wide variety of instruments. For example:
- Living trusts;
- Marital property agreements;
- Survivorship marital property;
- Joint ownership with right of survivorship;
- Payable on death (POD) accounts;
- Beneficiary designations on retirement plans, annuities, and life insurance policies;
- Transfer on death (TOD) security registration.
Nonprobate transfers offer a number of advantages. First, because nonprobate assets do not need to go through the probate process, the property is available immediately. Second, nonprobate assets are transferred without public proceedings; therefore, there is increased privacy under nonprobate transfers. Finally, the cost of nonprobate transfers is lower because court costs and attorney fees are reduced or avoided entirely.
[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]