Determining how the property of a deceased person must be distributed depends on several factors, such as whether the decedent died with a will, the language used in the document, and the existence of beneficiary designations and other legal tools.
Does a deed override a last will in Florida? Read on to find out.
Deed vs. Title – Understanding the Difference
Even though many Florida residents often use the terms “deed” and “title” interchangeably, they do not refer to the same concept.
The title of a property refers to the asset’s legal right of ownership. When a person holds the title of a property, that person has the right to use, occupy, gift, or sell. If the title is transferred to another person, the title grants the new owner the same bundle of rights.
A deed is a written document used to convey property from one person to another. If someone wants to transfer the title of a property, that individual must prepare a deed to convey ownership title.
The title is not a physical document. Conversely, the deed is a physical document that establishes the legal rights of an individual to a property.
The deed contains a legal description of the property, the names of the parties involved in the transfer of title, and the signatures of the parties involved. A deed’s execution must meet specific legal requirements to ensure its validity.
Does a Deed Override a Will in Florida? – The Verdict
When a person dies owning property in Florida, the decedent’s property must be transferred to the name of the legitimate heir or beneficiary. Transferring the title from the deceased’s name to a new owner requires a new deed.
A property titled in the decedent’s sole name must go through probate before the rightful heir or beneficiary can inherit it through the will. In this process, the court must appoint an executor to administer the deceased’s affairs.
After paying unpaid bills, settling creditors’ claims, filing tax returns, and wrapping up the estate, the executor can work with an expert attorney to prepare a new deed the title of the remaining assets to their new owners.
After a person’s death, the family often discovers that the provisions in the decedent’s will are not updated. In some cases, the title of a property distributed in the will is no longer part of the decedent’s estate.
If the owner of the property decided to execute a new deed to transfer the title of a property before passing away, the new owner has full ownership of the asset and does not need to go through probate.
A deed not signed during the life of the owner is not valid. If a person dies before executing a deed to transfer assets to a new owner, the property will be distributed according to the provisions in the will after probate is over.
Dying without a will results in intestacy, which requires the court to distribute the decedent’s assets following Florida’s intestacy laws. The deed of the property will be transferred to the decedent’s surviving wife or next of kin based on a default order of preference.