Probate refers to a court process that ensures the proper distribution of assets following a person’s death. However, not all estates must go through this legal procedure.
You can transfer some types of assets to a new owner without court approval.
What assets do not require probate in Florida?
Some common types of non-probate property in the Sunshine State include:
- Living trusts: Creating a trust document that names a trustee following your death can enable a transfer of property to beneficiaries without a probate process
- payable-on-death accounts: This method assigns a beneficiary for your bank accounts or certificates of deposit, allowing the designated person to claim funds following your death without court approval
- Joint tenancy: When more than one person holds an equal share of a vehicle, a real estate holding, bank account or another asset, the surviving owner often owns the property outright when the co-owner dies
- Life insurance policies and annuities: These agreements allow the distribution of funds upon your death without the need for court approval
Does a will avoid probate?
When someone dies without a will, a court of law must identify the heirs for the correct distribution of the person’s estate. However, estates with a valid will may still need to go through probate. When someone dies, and the assets are only in that person’s name, the court must oversee the process of distributing property to beneficiaries according to the will.
Probate is a complex process that requires in-depth knowledge of state laws and regulations. Planning for the distributions of your assets after death helps ensure a smooth process for your beneficiaries.