Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person's assets. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process, which is why some people choose to avoid probate through estate planning.
Common probate avoidance strategies include, but are not limited to:
Create a revocable living trust - With a revocable trust, you can transfer ownership of your assets to the trust while you're alive. The trustee—who can be you, a family member, or a professional—manages the trust property according to your instructions. When you die, the property in the trust doesn't have to go through probate.
Name beneficiaries on your accounts - This might include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank and brokerage accounts. By designating beneficiaries, you can ensure that these assets will pass directly to them when you die, without going through probate.
Own assets with rights of survivorship - Assets with rights of survivorship will pass to the co-tenant without probate. This protects what's owned from Florida’s complex probate process.
Name persons who are to receive your assets when you pass away - Assets with named beneficiaries will automatically transfer without the need for probate at death, so it is essential that these individuals be carefully selected and their titles protected in order best assure their enjoyment of those funds after passing onto them as heirs should there not already exist another living person capable or willing (but unable)to do so themselves.
Creating a proper estate plan - There are many other probate avoidance strategies available. Which one is right for you depends on your specific situation. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine which strategy makes the most sense for you and your family.
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