Undoubtedly, the passing of a loved one results in emotional distress. When someone dies owning property, part of this process involves distributing the assets held in the decedent’s estate to their rightful heirs and beneficiaries.
If the deceased person had designated beneficiaries for these assets, probate might not be necessary. However, if the decedent died owning property titled solely in his/her name, probate will be necessary. In this article, you will find out how to transfer an inherited property in Florida.
How Do I Transfer an Inherited Property in Florida? – Appointment of Personal Representative
Upon someone’s passing in Florida, the decedent’s surviving relatives must organize the affairs and belongings pursuant to probate. First, the person in control of the original last will must submit the document to the local clerk of court.
If the decedent’s estate is valued at more than $75,000 or the decedent has died less than two years ago, the estate subject to probate will be formally administered. In formal administration, a personal representative appointed by the court will execute the decedent’s estate under Florida law.
Typically, the personal representative is usually designated in the last will. If the deceased person has not designated a specific person to execute his/her estate upon death, the court will appoint a qualified individual based on statutory provisions.
Once the personal representative is appointed and granted Letters of Administration, that person must identify and collect all of the decedent’s assets subject to probate – including real property, vehicles, intangible assets (e.g., bank accounts), etc.
Then, the personal representative must appraise the assets held in the decedent’s estate and determine both the value of each asset as well as the total value of the estate. After valuing the estate, the personal representative must notify creditors who may have claims against the estate.
After paying or objecting to these claims within the period provided by law, the personal representative can proceed with the transfer of the inherited property to their respective owners – the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries.
How Do I Transfer an Inherited Property in Florida? – Determining Which Assets Must Be Transferred
Before closing the estate subject to probate, the personal representative must transfer the real property held in the decedent’s estate to the new owner(s). In this regard, the transfer will depend on whether the decedent outlined specific provisions regarding distribution in the will, how the property was titled, and who will be the new owner of the property.
In Florida’s formal administration, the personal representative is legally required to hire an attorney during the process. Regardless, hiring an expert probate lawyer is the most recommendable approach to guarantee a proper transferring of property under the law.
It is worth noting that, if the decedent titled the property to a trust, using a “Lady bird deed,” or another estate planning tool, the transfer will happen outside of probate. Other examples include property owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety.
Ultimately, transferring inherited property outside of probate is much easier than doing so under probate. Therefore, the best way to ensure a smooth transfer of property upon death is to work with an expert attorney to structure an estate plan in Florida.