What Assets Avoid Probate in Florida?
Exempt Assets from Probate in Florida: A Comprehensive Overview
Understanding which assets are exempt from the probate process in Florida is vital when crafting your estate plan. While many assets go through probate to ensure proper distribution to beneficiaries and creditors, certain assets can bypass this process altogether. This article provides a comprehensive overview of assets that circumvent probate in Florida, offering valuable insights to facilitate efficient estate planning.
Assets Avoiding Probate
Revocable Trust: Assets placed within a Revocable Trust are owned by the trust itself, not the individual. As a result, they avoid probate, and the successor trustee assumes ownership upon the individual’s death.
Designated Beneficiaries: Assets with designated beneficiaries named by the owner before their death can sidestep probate. This applies to assets like bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies.
Transfer on Death Accounts: Assets held in Transfer on Death accounts, established with financial or brokerage firms and assigned a named beneficiary, do not require probate. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies.
Jointly Owned Retirement Accounts: Retirement accounts owned jointly by two individuals automatically transfer to the surviving owner without undergoing probate.
Homes and Automobiles under “Tenancy by Entireties”: Properties owned jointly as “tenancy by entireties,” such as homes and automobiles, are exempt from Florida probate.
Primary Home (Homestead): Generally, the primary home or homestead is protected from creditor claims and remains exempt from probate. Transferring title for the homestead can be done swiftly without probate, but if the executor plans to sell the property, a court order may be necessary.
Household Items and Motor Vehicles: Certain personal belongings, including household items (e.g., furniture and appliances) with a total value under $20,000 and up to two regularly used motor vehicles, are exempt from probate.
Avoiding probate is often a time-saving convenience for the deceased’s family. While assets like bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate (excluding the primary residence), jewelry, works of art, and other property typically require probate, utilizing strategies like Revocable Trusts and designated beneficiaries can streamline the distribution process. A probate attorney can provide tailored guidance to address the specifics of your estate plan and ensure a smooth transfer of assets to your chosen beneficiaries.