Orlando Probate Attorney
Probate is an administrative process of identifying and gathering the assets of a person who has died, also known as the decedent. This process notifies the decedent’s beneficiaries and creditors to the decedent’s death, paying any expenses required and distributing assets to those beneficiaries who are entitled through either the decedent’s Last Will & Testament or through Florida’s laws of intestacy. In order to complete this process the Court assigns a personal representative to manage the assets, pay any debts, file tax returns, if required, complete and file any required court documents and distribute the estate assets.
Anthony J. Diaz can assist you in avoiding the probate process entirely. There are a number of legal strategies that can allow a person to pass property to another person after death without going through probate, such as:
- Joint Tenancy & Tenancy by the Entirety: Owing assets as a joint owner or as tenants with rights of survivorship allows property to pass to the surviving owner without passing through a probate.
- Beneficiary Designation: Florida allows Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) beneficiary designations to be added to bank accounts and brokerage accounts. Beneficiary designations may be preferable to joint tenancy in that they allow transfers of property only upon death without transferring current ownership.
- Revocable Living Trust: You control your assets pursuant to your instructions during your lifetime and the Trust continues to control over your assets on your death, avoiding probate and maintaining confidentiality, through a successor trustee that you appoint to handle your affairs upon your passing.
Is a Will required for probate?
A Will is not required yet very helpful during the probate process. If a decedent has a Will instructing a personal representative on how they wish for their estate to be devised it is known as a testate estate. If the decedent does not have a Will and the division of the estate is based upon the Florida statute it is called an intestate estate.