If a Florida resident dies owning assets solely in his or her name, the decedent’s estate will likely be subject to probate. Depending on the size and value of the estate, it must go through formal administration, a potentially lengthy and costly process.
In this article, you will find out the best methods to hold the title of real estate for probate in Florida.
Best Way to Hold Real Estate Title for Probate in Florida – Feasible Methods Only
There are different ways to hold the title of real estate to avoid probate. Property with one or multiple designated beneficiaries can be “inherited” out of probate court.
Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership of property in which two or more tenants own an equal percentage of interest. Hence, if a duo of joint tenants co-own a property, each one has a 50% interest in the asset.
Please note that joint tenancy is not sufficient to avoid probate by itself. In such cases, the property deed must have language expressly stating that both owners have a “right of survivorship.”
In a property held under joint tenancy with right of survivorship, the interest of a deceased co-owner will automatically vest the survivor tenants. No probate proceedings are required, as only the joint tenants listed in the deed of property have the right to inherit it.
Unless the decedent’s beneficiaries/heirs are joint tenants, they cannot inherit an interest share in the property. It is worth noting that this form of ownership is extremely valuable for probate avoidance, but it also requires attention to one’s estate planning documents.
If you want your children to inherit an interest share of a property held under joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, they must be listed in the deed of property as joint tenants as well.
Without being listed as joint tenants in the deed, the only possibility for your children to inherit the property is if you are the last survivor of the listed joint tenants.
Tenancy by the Entirety
A form of joint ownership exclusive to married couples in Florida, tenancy by the entirety offers the same benefits of joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. The key difference is that both tenants do not hold equal ownership shares in the property.
Instead, each spouse (tenant) owns the property in its entirety, which means they both own 100% of the asset. In this type of joint ownership, the spouses are generally listed as “husband and wife” in the property deed.
After one of the spouses passes away, the decedent’s ownership interest in the property automatically vests the surviving spouse. If there are no designated beneficiaries when the surviving spouse passes away, it will require probate to be inherited.
A reasonable solution for widowed spouses that are surviving tenants by the entirety can be transferring the title of the property to a trust or using an enhanced life estate deed. The best approach is to consult an expert estate planning attorney to find a solution tailored to your case.
Do You Want to Avoid Probate in Florida? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado
A well-versed legal advisor in Florida probate law and estate planning, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to assist you. Contact us by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.