One of the most common and important questions we receive from our clients is how to avoid the probate in Florida. Probate is a court supervised process to transfer a Decedent’s assets to their heirs at law under the Florida intestacy statute or through the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament. The probate process can take anywhere from 6 months to several years depending on the Decedent’s assets as well as any potential issues that may arise during the probate administration. So, here are some of the best ways to avoid probate in Florida.
Do you have beneficiaries listed on your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts? In Florida, it is quite easy to go to your financial institution and designate a beneficiary in the event of your death. We also strongly recommend that you name a secondary or successor beneficiary in the event that your primary beneficiary predeceases you. You can also discuss with your financial planner naming beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries on your brokerage and retirement accounts. Once you have named beneficiaries then upon your passing the individual(s) you name as beneficiary can simply go to the financial institution and claim the asset held in your account and avoid probate for that asset.
Lady Bird Deeds/Enhanced Life Estate Deeds
For many of us our greatest asset is our primary residence. So, how do you avoid the probate process for your real estate? At The Siegel Law Firm, P.A. we have assisted clients transfer their real property into a Lady Bird Deed/Enhanced Life Estate Deed to avoid probate. The Lady Bird Deed allows you to retain a lifetime interest in the real property and upon your death the property automatically goes to your beneficiaries ensuring that the property does not have to go to probate. Probate avoidance for your real property can also be accomplished by transferring your real property into a revocable trust.
The Siegel Law Firm, P.A. has assisted clients in setting up revocable living trusts that help avoid the probate process in Florida. A revocable trust can own all or some of your assets, including real and personal property, during your lifetime and direct that the assets held in the trust get transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death. A properly drafted and funded revocable trust is one of the best ways to transfer your assets to your loved ones and avoid the probate process.
It is important to note that there are other ways in Florida to avoid probate. However, the above list is a great starting point to begin the process of ensuring that your loved ones avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process in Florida.
If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions to Jason Siegel, Esq. at (561) 284-1160.
Written by Jason Siegel, Esq., of The Siegel Law Firm, P.A.