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Can I transfer personal property without going through probate?

  • If your heirs can decide on who gets furniture, jewelry, clothing, etc., then the courts do not have to be involved with deciding who gets possession of those items.  
  • If you have stocks or mutual funds, all of the investment houses will allow you to name a beneficiary to receive those investments without going through the courts.
  • Similarly, if you have a savings or checking account, you should make sure that it is either a joint account where a surviving heir has access to make deposits and withdrawals during your lifetime, or that it is a POD or “payable on death” account, where you designate a beneficiary who will obtain ownership of the account when you pass away outside of the court system.