There are at least three situations where probate is required in Florida.
An experienced Florida estate lawyer will advise that there are at least three situations where probate is required in Florida.
1. Property is titled in the deceased person's sole name. Probate will be required when assets or property are titled in a deceased person's sole name with no joint owner and with no beneficiary or POD/TOD designation. The probate is the means by which the title can be transferred.
Examples: House: A man owns a home titled only in his name. When the man dies, there is no way to transfer the house. Therefore, probate is required.
Bank Account: A man owns a bank account in his sole name. He does not have any POD, TOD or beneficiary designation. When the man dies, there is no way to access or transfer the account. Therefore, probate is required.
2. Property is titled in deceased person's name with jointly another; no JTWROS. Probate will be required when assets or property are titled in a deceased person's name with a joint non-spouse owner if there is no JTWROS designation.
Example: House: A man owns a home titled only in his name with his brother. When the man dies, there is no way to transfer the man's one-half interest in the house. Therefore, probate is required.
3. When a person needs to be authorized to act. On occasions, a person dies and the family does not know what he or she owned. They inquire at banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, etc. but no one will talk to them. If the deceased person had a legal claim which needs to be filed, the only way this can be done is through the duly appointed Personal Representative of the estate. There needs to be a person who is authorized to act. When a probate is opened, a Personal Representative will be appointed and that person can act in all respects for the estate.
Examples: Unknown assets: A man dies and his family is not sure what he owns. They knew where he banked but when they inquire about his accounts, the bank won't release any information. The family believes the man may have had some life insurance but doesn't know how much insurance he had nor who was the beneficiary. When they inquire about his insurance, the insurance company won't release any information. A probate must be opened to have someone appointed who has authority to act.
Bringing of a lawsuit: A man is killed in an auto accident as a result of another's negligence. In order to file a lawsuit, or to settle the insurance claim, a probate must be opened to have someone appointed who has authority to act.