Typically, a probate is required in order to legally transfer assets. Transferring the legal title/ownership of the decedent’s real property requires the legal authority conveyed upon a Personal Representative or Administrator by the court. Additionally, the holders of financial assets will not release those assets without an appointed representative, given powers by the court, unless the deceased has formally named beneficiaries through the financial institution.
Defending or prosecuting legal claims on behalf of the Estate also requires appointment of a Personal Representative.
Situations that do not require probate usually involve an Estate consisting solely of personal property. In these cases, real property may be transferred because it has been deeded with a beneficiary on the title and/or placed in a trust which has created and named beneficiaries.