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Tools available to avoid probate

Florida residents have many different options as it relates to transferring assets. Assets that are in the name of the deceased person only will have to go through probate unless other arrangements are made. For example, a beneficiary designation could be made on a home, car or investment account. This would trump any language in a will, and it would also allow for the asset to be transferred to the beneficiary when the current owner of the asset passes away.

The use of a transfer on death (TOD) designation on an asset such as real estate can be ideal for those who want to retain control of an asset while still alive. With such a designation, a child or other beneficiary would have no ownership interest in the property until after the current owner passes on. To create a beneficiary designation on a vehicle, an individual would need to follow a few basic instructions from the local DMV.

It is important to note that adding a beneficiary or other designation to one asset doesn't mean that all assets are covered. It is also important to know that state law may make it possible to avoid probate or go through a simplified process. Whether an estate qualifies depends on the type of assets it has and how much they are worth.

The use of beneficiary designations may limit the impact of dying without a will in some cases. This is because the will does not have any control over whether an individual receives an asset that has such a designation attached to it. However, there may be other benefits to creating a will such as ensuring that probate assets go to their proper beneficiaries. An attorney might provide more information about the benefits of a will.

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