Undoubtedly, probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process in Florida.
In this sense, it is fundamental to structure an estate plan to avoid exposing your loved ones to unnecessary stress upon your passing. Moreover, there are feasible ways to avoid – or at least mitigate – the side effects of probate in Florida.
In this article, you will find a guide on how to avoid probate in Florida.
Debunking Probate Myths – Does a Last Will Avoid Probate in Florida?
Unfortunately, some people still believe that simply having a written will in place upon death will avoid probate. However, it is not the truth. One of the specific purposes of probate is to determine the validity of a will and then proceed to the distribution of the decedent’s assets according to its provisions.
During probate, a Florida court will reunite the decedent’s assets and oversee its distribution to the heirs and beneficiaries. Additionally, any outstanding debt(s) incurred by the decedent will be paid during the process.
Before sitting down with an expert attorney to tailor an estate planning strategy, it is vital to separate the probate and non-probate assets. Basically, any assets owned solely by the decedent up until passing may be considered probate assets, such as:
- Real property
- Bank accounts
- Interest in a company (e.g., profit shares in a corporation)
- Life insurance policies (listing only the decedent or its estate as beneficiaries)
- Brokerage accounts (listing only the decedent or its estate as beneficiaries)
- Personal assets such as jewelry, furniture, vehicles, and others
How Do I Avoid Probate in Florida? – An Overview
In many circumstances, it is impossible to fully avoid probate. However, even in those cases, it is still possible to reduce the effects of probate as much as possible, guaranteeing beneficiaries a smooth process in probate court.
In a nutshell, legal strategies to avoid probate encompass a set of good practices to ensure every asset is either jointly owned with someone else (including rights of survivorship), designated to a specific beneficiary or is titled to a trust.
Regardless, the key factor is to seek guidance from an expert estate planning attorney to draft a feasible strategy according to each client’s reality, making it as flexible as possible.
How Do I Avoid Probate in Florida? – Probate-Exempt Property
Ultimately, the best strategy is to work with your legal advisor to exempt as much property as possible from property. In this sense, examples of assets exempt from probate include:
- Any property held into a trust
- Any real property owned through tenancy by the entirety
- Any real property owned through joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Retirement accounts (including 401k saving plans)
- Bank/brokerage accounts owned under joint tenancy
- Payable-on-death and transfer-on-death accounts
- Life insurance or brokerage-related accounts listing beneficiaries other than the owner and the estate itself
Each person is different, so it is fundamental to sit down with an expert attorney to assess your case and elaborate an estate planning strategy according to your circumstances.
Do You Need Strategies to Avoid Probate in Florida? – Work with Jurado and Farshchian, P.L.
Estate planning cannot be taken for granted. If you want to avoid probate in Florida, waste no time with uncertainty. Call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or send us an email to [email protected] to schedule an initial consultation.