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Probate: When is it necessary?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2021 | Blog, Probate Litigation |

Residents of Tampa and other areas of Florida may want to learn more about what situations make probate necessary. Laws vary from state to state, but Florida has a streamlined process for estates under $75,000. Estate planning is easier with a knowledge of the circumstances in which probate is required.

If assets are under the decedent’s name alone

This means that no one else owned the property. It will need to move out of the decedent’s name and be transferred to their beneficiaries. An exception to this in Florida is with the motor vehicle. It can be transferred to an heir without opening a probate estate.

Assets owned as tenant-in-common

There will typically be a need for probate if the decedent owned property in their name with others. Probate gets the asset to the correct beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries are dead, or there are no beneficiaries

If a payable account, such as a 401(k) or annuity, named beneficiaries who have since died, there will be a need for probate. In some cases, there are no names of beneficiaries, and the account will need to go through probate in order to uncover the names of the decedent’s beneficiaries.

The decedent didn’t have a last will and testament that was valid

Assets will need to go to probate. This is similar to the situation above in finding the beneficiaries. This is important as probate litigation may happen should heirs wish to contest how assets are divided.

The decedent had a valid last will and testament

Probate will be necessary to get documents out of the decedent’s name. Assets will go to the decedent’s beneficiaries as named in the will. These assets may qualify as a “small estate” if under $75,000.

If you need help with estate planning or probate litigation, it may be smart to consult an attorney with knowledge and experience in this field. A legal professional may help look out for your rights and interests.


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