There are many issues to consider when organizing and planning your estate in Florida. While you want to account for all your property and assets, it may be beneficial to consider making it easier for your close friends and loved ones to handle your estate once you pass.
Some cases may be forced through the probate process, while others may skip it altogether. It is critical that you know what this process entails so you can minimize difficulties often associated with probate.
What does probate entail?
Once you pass, the executor of your estate will oversee your case through the probate process. Probate is designed to gather items involved in the estate, pay off any outstanding debts and expenses owed by the estate and distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries you designated in your last will and testament, according to Florida Courts.
Probate items include any assets you have in your bank account and real estate, as long as there are no other names attached to the account or property title. It also involves any term life insurance policies, retirement accounts and 401k plans with the payable amount to your estate.
It is important to choose an executor that you know will be up for this often tedious and time consuming process. Keep in mind that if you do not name an executor in your will, the Florida Courts will appoint one for you.
Do all cases go through probate?
Not all cases are forced through the probate process in Florida. If property and assets involved in the estate have joint-ownership, meaning there is more than one name on the title or account, the property and/or assets are directly transferred to the co-owner of the account. This is also true if your items are placed in a living trust.