The death of a family member or other loved one can be emotionally charged. In addition, Florida probate administration can be a complicated endeavor. There are situations in which a family member or other loved one might obtain full ownership to assets jointly owned when a person dies. This raises the issue of whether such a jointly owned asset should be disclosed to other possible beneficiaries of the deceased individual.
Joint owner versus authorized owner
Before diving into whether something jointly owned needs to be disclosed to other family members of potential heirs, confirmation needs to be made as to whether an asset truly is jointly owned. For example, a parent might add one child to a bank account as a joint owner with a right of survivorship. In this case, upon the death of the parent, the child automatically becomes the owner of the bank account asset. The asset would not be a part of the estate or subject to probate administration.
If a parent adds a child as an authorized signer, the offspring had no ownership interest in the account. Such a bank account would be part of the estate and subject to probate administration as required by Florida law.
Issues surrounding the probate of an estate can be complex. If you face an issue regarding asset ownership such as that discussed here, you may be wise to obtain professional assistance from a capable, experienced Florida estate and probate attorney. The process of retaining legal counsel commences with an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer. There typically is no charge associated for a preliminary consultation with an estate and probate lawyer.