Probate is a mysterious process for those who have not dealt with it. Before creating an estate plan, you may want to understand how the court views assets.
Under Florida law, most estates must go through probate. If the value of your estate is less than $75,000, your estate will pass through summary probate. When your estate is worth more than that, then formal probate proceedings are likely. However, not all assets are subject to probate.
Assets that pass through probate
The probate process ensures that the rightful parties receive the property you intended them to. The court also wants to make sure applicable creditors receive payment for relevant debts. There are certain assets that the court considers when probating your will. These include things such as:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts held only in your name
- Investment accounts in your name only
Assets that bypass probate
If you are looking to try and minimize the court’s interference in your estate, you may want to explore some of the most common ways to keep your assets out of it. The general rule is anything you own jointly with another, or any account with a beneficiary designation bypasses probate. These include:
- Life insurance
- 401(k) accounts
- Joint bank accounts
The exception to the beneficiary designation is if you name your estate as the entity to receive the proceeds from an applicable fiduciary account.
The probate process in Florida does not have to overwhelm your loved ones after your death. Understanding the appropriate rules may help you plan better to minimize stress.