November 7, 2022
How to Avoid Probate in Florida
a document of probate court findings

How to Avoid Probate in Florida


If you’ve ever helped execute a family member’s will and estate plan after they pass away, you may have encountered the probate process. This experience may have you looking to avoid probate for your own estate. An expert Florida estate planning attorney can help you use the legal tools necessary to avoid probate. However, before we dive into how to avoid probate in Florida, let’s briefly look at what probate is and why you may want to avoid it.


What is Probate


Probate refers to the legal process your will goes through before your assets are distributed to beneficiaries. It’s the official proving of the will and takes time and money to get through. Much of the probate procedure depends on your estate and the complexity of your assets. Probate becomes incredibly complicated if you die without a will or have creditors looking for payment. As a result, many people look to avoid probate court altogether to relieve some stress on their families during a difficult time. 


Why Avoid Probate


Many estates go through probate every year and come out just fine with no issues. However, bypassing probate is ideal for some people with large or complex estates. When you avoid probate, you avoid the fees associated with the probate court and bypass delays in distributing assets. In addition, without probate, your beneficiaries receive their inheritance much quicker and don’t have to go through the stress and cost of probate.


Tips to Avoid Probate 


With this background, if you’re looking to avoid probate for your own estate, here are some tips to avoid probate. Of course, working with an estate planning attorney in Florida is especially important to ensure everything is done legally and correctly, but these tips will help you get started.


  • Create a Living Trust

One of the more popular ways to avoid probate is to create a living trust. While you are alive, you can still control the trust, designate beneficiaries, and how you want your assets distributed. Additionally, you’ll select a person to serve as the trustee after you pass away. Because of this, your trust, and its assets, will not pass through probate because the trustee is automatically the owner of the trust’s assets.


  • Add Beneficiaries on Accounts

A simple way to avoid probate on accounts like retirement, life insurance, or banking is to establish beneficiaries. Adding beneficiaries on any account that provides that option means the assets of this account go straight to the beneficiaries. There is no need for probate for assets that have listed beneficiaries. It’s an easy task to complete when you open the account and one you don’t want to forget! After you establish beneficiaries, it’s important to review your list of beneficiaries over the years to ensure they stay current.


  • Joint Ownership of Properties

Another tip to avoid probate in Florida is through “joint tenants with the right of survivorship.” This means that when you own property jointly with someone else (most commonly your spouse), ownership goes directly to the other person without passing through probate. On the other hand, if you own any property solely in your name, it will have to go through probate upon your death. This can be frustrating for your spouse or children because there will be delays in passing ownership in probate. The easiest way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to have joint ownership of your real estate.


  • Lady Bird Deeds

A lady bird deed is when someone transfers their property ownership to their beneficiaries while alive but includes the right to live in their property for the rest of their life. Then upon your death, the property ownership goes directly to the beneficiaries without passing through probate. You can consult an estate planning attorney in Florida to know if a lady bird deed is ideal for your property and estate.


Trust The Merriman Law Firm – Expert Estate Planning Attorney in Florida


When it comes to estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, guardianship, and federal estate tax planning, you need an expert estate planning attorney to ensure everything is in order without error. The expert team at The Merriman Law Firm has experience with all types of estates, from simple to complex. If you’re looking to avoid probate, it’s best to consult with the law professionals at The Merriman Law Firm to understand what are the right steps for your unique estate and assets. Together we can help you determine what is best for you and for your family. 


Schedule a free initial consultation today to get started and ask any questions. Then, with the right tools and the assistance of your estate planning attorney, you can decide how to avoid probate. We will guide you through every step so you can make an informed decision. 



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Published: November 7, 2022
Author: Merriman Law
Categories : Uncategorized