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What are Florida probate assets?

As our Brevard County readers undoubtedly know, Florida probate is a court-supervised process in which assets are identified, gathered and then distributed to beneficiaries. Those assets will also be used to cover the cost of probate, funeral expenses and outstanding debts before the remainder is distributed.

While many people understand the general parameters of the probate process, not everyone is as sure about which assets are considered probate assets. So we will take a look at that issue in this week's blog post.

Let us first make clear that probate administration applies to probate assets. So if a thing is not considered a probate asset, it will not be part of probate administration.

The Florida Bar Association states on its website that "probate assets are those assets that were owned in the decedent's sole name at death," but that they can also include assets that were co-owned by the person who has passed along with one or more other co-owners in cases in which there is no provision for passing on ownership at passing.

That means a bank account that was held in the sole name of the decedent is considered a probate asset, while an account owned by the decedent that was transferable on death is not a probate asset. This example applies as well to an investment account.

The Florida Bar also says that a life insurance policy (or an individual retirement account or annuity) that is payable to a particular beneficiary is not a probate asset, but that a life insurance policy, annuity or IRA account payable to the decedent's estate is a probate asset.

To learn more about probate assets and the process, contact a Brevard County attorney experienced in probate and trust administration.

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