How are non-trust assets handled at death when most are within the trust?
Short answer: Assets in trust are distributed as the trust states. Assets outside of the trust will be distributed either based on title (e.g., a joint bank account goes to the surviving joint owner) or beneficiary designation (an IRA is paid to the named beneficiary), or if there is no title or beneficiary designation based on the decedent's will (which will require a probate process, although if these assets are small in value the estate may qualify for an expedited or simpler probate proceeding).
Long answer: it really depends on what kind of trust, what the documents say, how the assets were titled, whether there were claims, taxes due and a myriad of other factors, all of which is why its worth consulting with a probate lawyer.
Now if you're wondering why the long answer is shorter than the short answer, hey, this is a legal web site!!
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