When an individual dies, certain assets are transferred by contract (joint and survivorship property, payable on death accounts, transfer on death property, and most life insurance and retirement benefits) while other assets are transferred through Surrogate Court. The separation of these assets is estate administration. The assets transferred by contract are considered non-probate proceedings while the assets transferred through court are considered probate proceedings. In order to decide which assets belong in which type, an attorney should be consulted.
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