🤔 Is Probate Required in Florida?

The purpose of probate is to settle the estate of deceased individuals according to probate statutes. Probate can be bulky and time-consuming. But is it always required?

Probate in Florida

During probate, the court supervises a process that includes gathering the decedent’s assets and distributing them to specific beneficiaries after paying the estate’s debts. Probate helps ensure that a decedent’s assets are protected and that their debts are paid. In other words, it makes sure that the deceased person’s financial affairs are settled legitimately.

Is Probate Required in Florida?

Generally speaking, most estates must pass through probate. Contrary to popular belief, the existence of a last will and testament does not do away with the need for probate. In fact, it is the probate process that tests the validity of a will to make sure that it is valid and executable.

When Probate Is Not Required in Florida

Although many estates end up having to go through probate, there are a few instances when probate is not required.

Disposition Without Administration

In cases where there is no estate or the estate is below a certain value, a disposition without administration is available. The process is only available for people seeking to recoup final expenses they have paid out of their own pockets on behalf of the decedent.

Living Trust

With a living trust, you can avoid probate altogether. In fact, it is one of the most popular tools for accomplishing this. When you create a living trust, the title to your designated assets will be transferred to a trust and a trustee who must manage those assets to the benefit of the named beneficiaries.

The beneficiary can be yourself while you are living. Upon passing away, beneficiaries other than yourself will receive the trust distributions according to the terms you have codified into the language of the trust.

Payable-on-Death (POD) Accounts

POD accounts are accounts whose ownership transfers to another person upon the death of the original account holder. Types of accounts that are commonly designated as POD include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposits
  • Share accounts

Although POD accounts bypass probate, there are important tax considerations that are still in play. A probate attorney can help you understand the requirements.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

Under normal joint tenancy rules, real estate that is held by more than one person must go through probate upon the death of one of the tenants. However, if rights of survivorship are attached to the joint tenancy, then the death of one of the tenants will see their share of the property pass to the other tenant or tenants.

Plan Your Estate with a Knowledgeable Probate Attorney

Is probate required in Florida? The answer is that it depends on the circumstances. There are ways to avoid this often bulky process, but in some instances, it is absolutely necessary, even when there is a will.

The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm has an extensive history of helping people plan their estates in such a way that eliminates any surprises down the line. Call our office today for a consultation and learn how we can help you create the future you desire.