Avoiding Florida Probate
An avoiding Florida probate attorney is the person you want to turn to when you recognize that probate can have significant repercussions, many of them negative, for your beneficiaries and heirs. There are numerous different ways that you can avoid probate in Florida, but all of them should involve a consultation directly with an experienced estate planning attorney who has been practicing in this field for a long period of time.
Someone who is highly knowledgeable about the estate plans at the state and federal level can advise a person who is interested in avoiding Florida probate. An avoiding Florida probate attorney is an important asset to visit with on a regular basis to ensure that the estate plan in question is accomplishing all necessary goals. The process of probate in Florida is time consuming and expensive, and yet it can be very easy to avoid even if you appointed a talented person in the role of personal representative.
Far too many people avoid taking the necessary steps to avoid Florida probate. Florida probate records are a matter of the public court records. This means that anyone can look at your probate files. Privacy is one of the most common reasons to avoid probate in Florida. What will work best in your individual situation depends on your intended goals and the structure of your estate. You will have to factor in your individual concerns about creditor and asset protection, as well as how much of your lifetime gift tax exemption you have already used.
If you own real estate in Florida but are not a resident in Florida, then one way to avoid having the Florida ancillary probate process kick in is to eliminate all of your Florida real estate. If you don't have any property located in Florida, there is no estate that needs to be probated in Florida. However, this may not be desirable or practical for most people. You may be able to gift your Florida real estate to other people in order to reduce its value and avoid probate. Another way to avoid the Florida probate process is by using tenancy by the entirety or joint ownership rights with survivorship by tenancy.
If you are married, in Florida you and your spouse can own bank accounts, tangible personal property, real estate and investment accounts with rights of survivorship in a form known as tenancy by the entirety. Any investment or bank account or deed to real estate can avoid probate in Florida, if their real estate is known as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Another way to avoid Florida probate is by using life estate deeds or beneficiary designations. If you have life insurance or assets inside retirement accounts, then you are already taking advantage of being able to avoid probate when something happens to you.
Furthermore, you may also be able to use a special type of life estate deed referred to as an enhanced life estate deed. The final option for avoiding the process of probate in Florida is using irrevocable living trust. This is a written document that covers three phases of your life, if you are to become mentally incapacitated, while you're alive and well, and after you die. It gives you a great deal of control over the future of your estate and also helps to remove the assets from your personal possession, such that they would not be categorized as yours when it comes to moving forward with probate in Florida.