More on the types of Assets that may need to be handled through a Summary or Formal Administration in Florida
If property must be transferred as a result of a death in Florida, you must use an attorney. A probate case should be filed in the country where the decedent lived at the time of their death. You'll need to speak to an attorney to determine whether the estate must go through Probate and if so, which type of administration.
Typical assets that may or may not go through probate after death include:
Bank Accounts: Bank accounts should be titled as payable on death (POD) with a named beneficiary to avoid probate. If a person is married, they would typically add their spouse as a payable on death beneficiary. An unmarried person may avoid probate of bank accounts by listing a payable on death designation, leaving to the remaining money in the account to the beneficiary intended. If you contact a bank after the death of a loved one, they may tell you if there was a payable on death designation on accounts.
Bank accounts without POD designations must go through probate unless the amount is less than the cost of the burial and disposition of the final remains. If the total amount of non-exempt property, including bank accounts, is less than $75,000, you may be able to handle the assets with a summary administration, which is typically less costly and time consuming.
Vehicles: Cars are property that usually must go through probate if not titled away of the decedent before death. However, if there is no other property that must be probated, take the certificate of title and a copy of the death certificate to the DMV. The DMV will often allow a re-titling of the vehicle without court order.
Homesteads and other Real Property: If a real property is titled to the decedent at the time of death, it must go through probate in Florida to pass the title of the property in Florida. You will not be able to sell the property without retitling the property though a probate.
If the property was the Decedent's homestead and is going to pass to a heir, you may be able to retain tax benefits associated with the homestead tax advantages in Florida and may be able to use a Summary Administration regardless of the value of the property.
Time Shares: Timeshares are a very common asset to require probate in Florida, especially the Central Florida Area. They are treated as any other real property and must pass through probate. The timeshare community usually will not allow any party other than the title holder to use the timeshare benefits, so it is important to start the process as soon as possible and to continue paying any dues and taxes on the timeshare if you intend to keep the timeshare.
If a timeshare is the only asset of an estate, you should make sure the value and benefit are worth the cost of at least a summary administration. Remember, you have zero liability for the debts of the decedent and timeshares often have little value once bought on the open market.
The Adams Law Firm, P.A. routinely handles summary administrations. Our turn around time between filing a Petition for Summary Administration and receiving the necessary orders conveying property are often only several weeks. We have attorneys ready to meet with you who can file these pleadings quickly when time is of the essence. We handle cases in every county in Florida and have offices in Orlando and Clearwater.
Call the Adams Law Firm, P.A., for a Free Consultation: (407) 270-3724