Many people believe that as long as they have a last will and testament, then probate will be unnecessary. While not having such a legal document in place will certainly require probate, official confirmation is needed in certain circumstances.
The importance of updating a will
One of the most common mistakes related to estate planning is not updating a will often enough. If you purchase a new vehicle, for instance, and do not update the will to account for it, then it may be necessary to establish a probate estate depending on where the vehicle is purchased. In Florida, you can transfer a motor vehicle without probate, and the state even allows for small estates.
In Florida, a small estate is one with an estimated value of $75,000 or less. Establishing a small estate allows you to avoid probate and substantially speeds up the process due to simplified court requirements and procedures.
It is often necessary to probate an estate when there is real estate involved. This is true even if the property was owned in the benefactor’s sole name. If the real estate was owned outside of Florida, then the laws of that state apply. There are also additional complications if there was joint ownership.
There are ways to avoid probate for your beneficiaries, and they begin with updating your estate annually or whenever a large purchase or major life decision is made. You may want to discuss with your estate planning attorney any steps you can take to avoid probate, such as making accounts payable on death.