How to avoid probate?

Probate in Florida can be an extremely time-consuming and expensive process. In most cases, there are some simple steps that you can take to avoid probate. Florida probate records are public court records that anyone can read. Rather than having yourself on public record, there are some steps that you can take to avoid probate.

The steps that you need to take will depend on the way that your assets are titled, how you would like the inheritance of property to work and how much of the lifetime gift tax exemption you have used before your death. Keeping some concern about asset protection and creditor protection is important in the probate process as well. Some of the best steps to take to avoid probate include:

Getting rid of your property early:

If you aren’t a resident of Florida but you own property there it’s a good idea to illuminate any extra property that would need to be probated. By reducing the value of your estate you can avoid probate.

Enact joint ownership today:

Adding joint ownership with rights of survivorship to a residence can make sure that the transition from one owner to another can be easy. If you’re married you and your spouse can on the same bank account and investment accounts as well as your personal property. You can also add new recipients of this property by using a tendency by the entirety form.

Beneficiary designations on life estate deeds:

if you’re on life insurance or a series of assets in protected accounts like an IRA or 401(k), you can avoid probate by adding a beneficiary designation. Payable on death accounts are systems that you can set up in Florida to avoid probate. Enhanced life estate deeds also ensure that the real estate you own in Florida can pass on to the same beneficiaries after you die without the need for probate.

Revocable living trust:

A revocable living trust is a document that is similar to a will. There are several editions of this trust that include a plan for if you are alive and well and you pass away, if you become mentally incapacitated and unable to work or earn and a plan for passing on your belongings after you die in many years. With these different editions available you can prepare for more eventualities and make sure that your final wishes can be met.

Keep some of these top methods in mind for forgoing probate in Florida.


This post was written by Trey Wright, a bankruptcy lawyer in Tallahassee. Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation.

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