Probate in Southwest Florida – What to Know
Local southwest Florida Probate lawyer, James Nici, in this brief video reviews four things to know about probate. Probate was not “invented” in the traditional sense, but rather it developed over centuries as a legal process to address certain societal and legal needs. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Roman and English legal systems.
4 Things You Need to Know About Probate
What is probate?
Probate is the court-supervised disposition of assets when someone passes away. If someone has a will that's referred to as dying testate, which means with a will. That's where the court will make sure that the beneficiaries designated under the will, will receive the assets, but also creditors will be paid. If an individual dies without a will, that's referred to as dying intestate.
Do all assets go through probate?
All assets do not go through probate. Those assets that are owned in a decedent's name at the time of their death, will pass through probate. However, assets such as life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans where there's a beneficiary designation will pass according to the terms of that beneficiary designation. Additionally, assets that are owned jointly with rights of survivorship or assets titled in the name of a Revocable Trust will also avoid probate.
Should all assets be titled jointly with my child to avoid probate?
Generally speaking, I do not recommend that my clients own their assets jointly with their children. The main reason for this is those assets that are owned jointly with the child, are exposed to that child's creditors. I would hate for my clients to lose their assets because their child was embroiled in a lawsuit.
What happens if I die without a will?
An individual who dies without a will is said to have died intestate. In such a case, there are Florida statutes that specifically provide who will inherit that individual's assets.