Whether or not your devisees or heirs will have to go through probate to transfer title to your assets depends on how your assets were owned when you died. Depending on how your assets are owned, your estate may not have to go through the probate process because your will or the intestacy laws may not control the distribution of some or all of your assets.

There are certain types of assets that are not governed or distributed per the terms of a will. Only assets that were owned by you in your individual name (and which do not have a beneficiary designation) are controlled by the will. Assets that are titled in a living trust, or owned in joint tenancy, such as real property or a bank account, or assets that have a beneficiary designation like a life insurance policy or IRA, pass to the beneficiaries by operation of law, and are not subject to the provisions in the will or the probate process.