Properties of deceased individuals in Florida generally require probate so that the court may legally transfer ownership to heirs. Even without a will, however, an individual that you listed as a beneficiary on a title, deed or contract may forgo probate, as noted on the University of Florida’s website.
Many Sunshine State residents assume they can do without a will because their spouse inherits all their property when they die. Intestate succession laws, however, may only recognize ownership of a real estate by a surviving spouse when a deed names both you and your spouse as “tenants by the entirety” under Florida law.
Titling non-probate property
If you own property with one or more persons titled as “joint tenancy with rights of survivorship,” your surviving spouse may take his or her ownership share when you die. Real estate and other assets transferred to a trust during the deceased’s lifetime may also bypass probate. Properties, however, require retitling to the trust, as noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
Titling financial accounts to avoid probate
As explained by Florida Today, your estate plan may include titling certain assets to avoid probate. Many financial institutions offer customers the option to add beneficiaries who may receive the balance in your account when you die. Referred to as payable on death or “POD” accounts, individuals added as beneficiaries may forgo probate. Stock brokerage and retirement accounts may also allow naming POD beneficiaries.
Before preparing a will, you may consider how titling your properties may affect how quickly your heirs receive an inheritance. Some financial assets may avoid probate by retitling them to include payable on death beneficiaries.