Depending on the situation, distributing the assets of a loved one who just passed away may become an overwhelming task. In this sense, a simple request like transferring the deed of the decedent’s property to an immediate relative will depend on several factors.
First, it is crucial to look at the provisions contained in the decedent’s last will. Then, it is time to determine which assets will go through probate. Only after probate is complete, the remaining assets are transferred to their rightful beneficiaries.
In this article, you will discover the limitations regarding the transfer of property after death in Florida.
Transfer of Property After Death in Florida – An Introduction
It is not that simple to transfer the assets of a deceased person without going through the required process. In Florida, the probate process begins in the county where the decedent last resided.
There are three types of probate proceedings in Florida – disposition without administration, summary administration, and formal administration. Disposition without administration is the simplest option among the three, sometimes taking only 60 days to complete.
Still, its availability is limited, as it only applies for cases in which the value of the decedent’s estate is less than the decedent’s final expenses (e.g., medical bills, funeral, and burial expenses).
Summary administration happens when the value of the decedent’s estate is less than $75,000 or if the decedent passed away more than two years ago. Although this type of probate is less demanding, it is not available for all cases.
Ultimately, there is the most demanding type of probate, which is formal administration. No estate valued over $75,000 will qualify for neither distribution without administration nor summary administration.
Determining the type of probate that applies for a specific case depends on the size and type of assets involved, so it is fundamental to sit down with an expert attorney to assess the situation in detail.
Transfer of Property After Death in Florida – What Happens After Probate is Complete?
Several legal tools permit a decedent’s loved ones to legally circumvent probate and have a more expedited distribution of the assets.
A viable alternative to transfer property after death while avoiding probate is transferring the title of property to a trust. In essence, a trust is a valuable method of estate transfer, in which you give another party authority to handle specific assets (trustee) for the benefit of a third party (beneficiaries).
There are two main types of trust – revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts permit you to change, amend, or revoke the terms in the trust agreement at any time. Instead, irrevocable trusts cannot be modified after you have signed the trust agreement.
A revocable trust offers more flexibility, as while the person’s lifetime, they still own and control the assets held within the trust. Accordingly, upon the owner’s passing, the trust’s trustee can transfer the property without filing probate.
Although an irrevocable trust is a valuable choice to reduce the taxable estate and ensure a smooth transfer of property after the trust owner’s death, it does not have flexibility – leaving any room for eventual necessary changes.
Structure a Solid Estate Plan in Florida – Work with an Expert Estate Planning Attorney
The only way to avoid probate, reduce taxable estate, and protect your loved ones upon your passing is by structuring an estate plan.