Informed, compassionate and discreet elder law and estate solutions
The Charles Law Offices
Largo Office Wells Fargo Building
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 518
Largo, FL 33770
Phone: 727-683-1483
Toll Free: 866-499-3322
Clearwater Office Hodusa Towers
28870 U.S. Highway 19 North,
Suite 300
Clearwater, FL 33761
St. Petersburg Office Crossroads Office Center
1700 66th St. N.,
Suite 209
St. Petersburg, FL 33710

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How to Avoid the Cost and Time of Probate in Florida

Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process following a person’s death. However, it is not the only option for settling an estate. With careful planning, you can help avoid the cost and time of probate while still ensuring that your heirs will receive an inheritance. This is done through several means.

One way to avoid probate is to set up a revocable living trust. Anything can be included in this trust, including real estate, vehicles and any other assets. The advantages of a trust are that it is not considered part of your probate estate. Just like with a will, you can create a trust document that instructs who will inherit the property.

Bank accounts and retirement accounts are generally considered assets part of your estate thus requiring probate. These accounts can either be governed by a living trust to avoid probate, or you can execute a document that assigns a beneficiary of your estates so that, when you pass away, this money is transferred automatically to this person. The assets are then in their name and are no longer part of your probate estate. This can even be done with security registrations. However, Florida does not allow transfer of real estate deeds or vehicle registrations upon death, so this property should be governed through a trust.

Another option for real property is joint ownership. When you own property, such as a house, jointly with another person, this property will pass to them automatically at the time of death. This property will not go through probate and the surviving owner will take full ownership.

The final way to avoid probate is simple: gifts. By giving gifts of your property before your death, this property will no longer be yours and therefore cannot be a part of your probate estate.

If you could use assistance setting up a living trust or other key estate planning documents, work with the skilled Florida elder law attorneys with the Charles Law Offices today. 

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