When you die, your property needs to go to someone. An estate plan should include a will, a legal document that goes through the court system in a process known as probate.
Probate intends to ensure that your money and property go to those you intend. However, it is often a misunderstood and misinformed legal proceeding that may take some by surprise. Learn how probate in Florida may affect your estate and what you can do to help.
What happens to debt during probate?
One of the purposes of probate is divvying your estate to pay for debts. Your personal representative, or the person you designate in your will, acts as the coordinator to ensure that appropriate creditors and possible heirs receive notice of your debt and the probate process. The judge oversees the personal representative to make certain money is going where it needs to go.
What assets go through probate?
Not all of your assets or money go through probate. Anything held in joint ownership with another, including real estate and bank accounts, does not go through the court. Joint assets pass to the surviving owner. Policies or accounts with beneficiaries, such as life insurance and retirement funds, do not go to probate. Those, too, pass directly to those you listed as beneficiaries. Finally, trust accounts pass to those you named to benefit from the account.
Assets such as those above are worth considering when hatching a viable estate plan. Since they do not wait for court proceedings before disbursing, your family may get that money much quicker.
Creating a diverse estate may help your loved ones get through the probate process with a bit more ease.