Transferring Assets at Death

Many times our office gets called by the adult children of someone who has passed away, with questions about estate administration, most notably, how to transfer their parent’s money to the next generation.

There are three ways assets transfer at death.

There are probate assets, assets that transfer automatically and assets that transfer by beneficiary designations.

The probate assets are assets not held in joint tenancy, not held in trust and have no beneficiary.

For those who die in Illinois, if those assets are worth less than $100,000 and there is no real estate, filling out a simple transfer form can distribute assets as per the will.

If there isn’t a will, there are some basic default rules.

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Other accounts transfer with ease such as accounts held in joint tenancy that transfer automatically. If you are a joint tenant on those accounts, producing the death certificate is all that’s required.

Assets held in a trust transfer as the trust document directs.

For accounts with beneficiaries, all one has to do is fill out a form provided by the asset custodian with the death certificate and then a beneficiary gets the money.

However in instances where more than $100,000 of probate assets are to be disbursed or if no beneficiary is noted on the account, the solution is a little more complex and an elder law or probate attorney should be consulted.