If a person was a joint tenant with right of survivorship on a property and also was sole beneficiary of an IRA account, what happens at a probate hearing?

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If a person was a joint tenant with right of survivorship on a property and also was sole beneficiary of an IRA account, what happens at a probate hearing?

Asked on March 28, 2013 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Why would you have a probate hearing for these items?  Title to the property passed automatically to the surviving tenant under the joint and survivorship deed.  No probate is necessary and the Probate Court has no jurisdiction over this unless your state permits the Probate Court to enter an order confirming this result.  The Probate Court has no jurisdiction to change the result.

The same thing happens with the IRA.  The named beneficiary steps into the shoes of the original account holder and can now manage the account.  The beneficiary can liquidate the account (and pay the income taxes) or continue to allow the account to accumulate as a tax deferred vehicle and take any minimum distributions required under IRS rules.  The Probate Court has no jurisdiction at all over the IRA.

I hope this clears up any confusion.  If this is the only property left by the deceased, there is no need to open a probate at all.


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