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I can't remember where but I've read somewhere that probate is not always necessary. Is this correct?
It sort of makes sense to me because if the deceased had no assets to administer what would be the point?
Then I thought about the case of a married couple owning their home as joint tenants. As I understand it, this means that on the first death the total ownership of their home automatically transfers to the surviving spouse. Even regardless of their will, because the deceased's estate no longer has any ownership of the property.
All well and good (though please correct me if that's wrong).
So, my questions is, does the same principal apply to other joint assets?
I believe, for example, that a joint bank account suddenly belongs to the surviving spouse on the first death and therefore will not be frozen by the bank.
But what about other tangible belongings? Can the surviving spouse claim that everything they owned between them was on a joint basis? If so, would that mean that ownership automatically transfers on death? And even if the surviving spouse was required to prove that was the case, suppose the married couple had previously made a declaration to that effect? Also, how could that be done in a legally water-tight manner?
In short, if a married couple's total possessions - house, car, bank accounts, clothes, furniture, jewellery, pets, everything - were all jointly owned, wouldn't everything automatically pass to the surviving spouse on first death, thereby rendering the probate process effectively redundant and not legally required?