Does Estate Planning Avoid Probate in Florida? – Main Benefits
Probate is a court-supervised process to administer the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. Depending on various circumstances, probate may result in a time-consuming and stressful experience for your loved ones.
Does Estate Planning Avoid Probate in Florida? – The Verdict
Florida law allows you to rely on different estate planning tools to avoid probate. If you want to protect your legacy and ensure only the designated persons will inherit from your estate, you must work with an expert attorney to build a solid estate plan.
No matter how large or complex an estate is, a well-crafted estate plan can help your loved ones avoid or mitigate the effects of probate as much as possible.
Another good reason to avoid probate is the costs involved in a court-supervised administration. In wealthier estates, up to 5% of the decedent’s assets subject to probate may be used to pay for expenses involved in the process.
Does a Last Will Avoid Probate in Florida?
Unfortunately, many Florida residents believe that a will is sufficient to avoid probate, which is not true. A last will is a fundamental document in any estate plan, as it allows the testator to:
Outline how the estate must be distributed
Provide what each heir must receive from the estate
Designate guardians for minor children or dependents with special needs
Even though the last will does not avoid probate, this document is crucial to avoid intestacy. When someone dies without a will, the deceased’s estate is administered under Florida laws of intestacy.
Florida Statutes Chapter 732 encompasses the statutory rules to administer intestate estates. In such cases, state law has specific provisions to determine the heirs of the intestate estate, what they will inherit, and the order of preference for inheritance.
Does Estate Planning Avoid Probate in Florida? – Probate Assets vs. Non-Probate Assets
Another fundamental aspect of any estate plan is to identify probate and non-probate assets. Once they are properly identified, it is possible to treat these assets differently and build a specific strategy to fulfill your specific needs.
In essence, all assets owned solely in the decedent’s name at the time of death are subject to probate. Examples of probate assets include:
Real estate or land owned solely in the decedent’s name
Real estate or land owned under tenancy in common
Personal bank accounts titled in the decedent’s sole name
Interests in business held in the decedent’s name (e.g., profit shares)
Life insurance policies or brokerage accounts listing the decedent (or the estate) as the beneficiary
Conversely, non-probate assets are assets exempt from probate under Florida law or assets that are no longer part of the decedent’s estate at the time of death. Examples of assets that do not go through Florida probate include:
Real property or land held under joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety
Any asset titled in the name of a trust
Retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries
Bank/brokerage accounts held under joint tenancy
Payable-on-death (POD) and transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts
Life insurance or brokerage-related accounts with designated beneficiaries
Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s primary residence valued at no more than $20,000
Do You Want to Avoid Probate? – Work with Your Florida Probate Lawyer Today
Business and Immigration Lawyer for Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, Small Businesses and Foreign Investors. Romy Jurado grew up with the business dream of becoming a lawyer and starting her own business. And today, she is living proof that dreams really do come true. As the founder of Jurado & Associates, PA, a specialty business, real estate, and immigration law firm, Romy's practice focuses primarily on domestic and international business transactions, with a strong emphasis on company formation, stock sales, and assets, contract drafting, and business immigration. In 2011, Romy earned her Juris Doctor degree from Florida International University School of Law. She is fluent in two languages (English and Spanish) and is the proud author of Starting a Business in the US as a Foreigner, an online business guide. Call 305-921-0976 or email [email protected] for a consultation.
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