At the time of death, all assets of the decedent must be transferred out of his or her name. Assets that are jointly owned, have a beneficiary designation or that are payable on death, do not have to go through probate. However, all other assets which are titled solely in the decedent’s name must go through probate and this can often take between 6 to 12 months. Taxes and debts are paid, and the remainder is passed to the beneficiaries.
It is important to remember that a will does not avoid probate, it simply tells the judge who you want your assets to go to. Many people will use a revocable living trust to avoid probate. A living trust is similar to a Will in that it tells everyone who you want to have your assets, and who you want to administer the trust at your death (the successor trustee). However, a living trust can avoid probate because title to the property is held in the name of the trust, not an individual. Therefore, at the death of the decedent, the successor trustee takes over and can administer the trust in accordance with the trust provisions.
Some common probate terms:
Attorney Thomas P. Gill, Jr. works with the personal representative to gather information and facilitate the probate. Because Florida requires an attorney to help with the probate, Attorney Gill often works with representatives that live out of state.
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