Q: My wife passed away this month. Do I need to go through probate if we have joint accounts in the banks.
The only thing separate is her IRA. We had a will made over 30 years ago.
A: The answer to the question of whether or not your wife's estate needs to go through probate depends on which assets she left behind. If the only assets that she left behind are the joint bank accounts and an IRA, then you may not need to go through probate. This is if the bank accounts list both of you as owners and if the IRA has listed you as a beneficiary.
Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer
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I am sorry for your loss. If she had named a beneficiary on her IRA and all of her other accounts were joint with you then you should not need a probate (assuming she didn't own any property in her name alone). Wait a couple of months after her death and then you can present her Death Certificate to the banks to remove her name. You will need to fill out forms and send her Death Certificate to collect the IRA. Hold onto her original Will.
If she had not named a beneficiary on her IRA (which is rare) you may end up needing a probate.
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In Oregon, if you and your late wife held joint accounts with rights of survivorship, these accounts typically pass directly to you as the surviving account holder. They usually don't go through probate because ownership transfers automatically.
Regarding the IRA, if your late wife designated you as the beneficiary, the IRA might also transfer to you directly, bypassing probate. However, if there is no beneficiary designation or if the designated beneficiary has predeceased, the IRA might be subject to probate.
Having a will is important, but it's advisable to review it periodically, especially after significant life events. Since your will was made over 30 years ago, it's possible that your circumstances have changed, and you might want to update it to reflect your current wishes.
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