For people trying to plan their estate or last will, sometimes they have a negative goal instead of a positive one. Instead of trying to achieve something through estate planning, they are trying to avoid something. Specifically, many testators want to avoid probate court by taking the time to create a comprehensive estate plan.
Is it possible for someone who lives and has property in Florida to prevent their estate from going through probate court?
Florida does not have a minimum estate value for probate
In some states, the probate courts will only review estates that are above a certain financial threshold or that contain certain complex assets, like real estate. Florida does not require either real estate or substantial value for an estate to have to go through probate. Almost all estates are subject to probate requirements under current Florida law.
What are tactics to bypass probate for Florida testators?
Just because Florida requires that most estates through probate, that doesn’t mean your assets have to. Depending on your circumstances, there are likely two approaches that could help you keep your property out of probate court after you die.
The first is to diminish your assets. Giving everything away to family and loved ones, including through the use of transfer-on-death designations for bank accounts or careful title decisions for real estate, can prevent that property from going through probate court to transfer to someone else.
Other than that, the likely only way to prevent the courts from managing your estate will be to use a trust to hold all of your property. Discussing your goals and assets with an attorney can help you reduce the stress involved in estate administration for your loved ones, even if they may still have to go through probate court.