Estates in Iowa: Do I Really Need to Go Through Probate?
A common issue that pops up with family members after someone dies is "do we need to go through probate?" To answer that question, there are series of follow-up questions to be answered first. To start the process, you should have a list of the assets in front of you and go through a "filter" process of the following questions. Question 1: Is there a named beneficiary for the assets? Do any/all of the assets have a named beneficiary? For example, life insurance and annuities typically have a beneficiary. Is there a POD (Payable on Death) or TOD (Transfer on Death) beneficiary? If the answer is "yes" to all the assets, then you are done. Go straight to the claims process and pass probate. If the answer is yes to some, but not all, we move to the next question. (If the beneficiary is the "estate", then that doesn't count but doesn't necessarily mean you have to go through probate.) Question 2: Is there a surviving joint owner