For many of us our real estate is the biggest purchase of our lifetime. One of the most common questions we get at The Siegel Law Firm, P.A. is how to avoid probate of our real property in Florida. In this article we will discuss the best ways to avoid the probate process for your Florida and out-of-state real property.
Lady Bird Deed (Enhanced Life Estate Deed)
In a Lady Bird Deed, a property owner transfers their real property to a third party while retaining a “life estate” in the property. The lady bird deed, unlike a traditional life estate deed, allows the real property owner to sell their property or change the remainder beneficiaries during their lifetime without requiring the joinder of the remainder beneficiaries. The big advantage of the lady bird deed is that upon the property owner’s death, the real property automatically transfers to the owner’s beneficiaries and avoids the probate process in Florida.
Deed into a Revocable Trust
Another great option is deeding your real property into a properly formed Revocable Trust. A Revocable Trust is an estate planning document that allows a real property owner to transfer legal ownership to a trustee during their lifetime. The Trustee, who can be a trusted friend, family member, or yourself, manages the trust assets during the owner’s lifetime and transfers the trust property upon the owner’s death. The Settlor (creator of the Trust) can set forth the terms in which the beneficiaries receive the assets upon their death. This is an excellent option for avoiding probate of both your Florida and out-of-state real property
Please note that there are other ways to avoid probate in Florida, such as naming a co-owner on your real property, but for tax reasons as well as the owner’s loss of control of the property the above described methods are preferable for most individuals.
If you would like to discuss how to best avoid probate on your real property please do not hesitate to reach out to Jason Siegel, Esq. with any questions. You can also listen to our podcast series, The Siegel Law Firm, P.A. presents the Probate Pod where we discuss the best ways to avoid probate on your Florida real property at https://www.servingyourlegalneeds.com/the-probate-podcast-by-jason-siegel-esq.