If you have been struggling with understanding specifications and guidelines for categorizing estate assets in Florida, you have landed at the right place. Depending on how complex the estate is, your experience could range from smooth-sailing, straightforward processes to maddening paperwork and other procedures. Here we break down the process, just as Fort Myers Real Estate Attorney would, to help you understand each aspect easily and with greater clarity.
Steps for Categorizing Estate Assets in Florida
Take an inventory of the assets
As an administrator, the first step would be to seek an appointment as the estate’s representative. Once you have done that, take an inventory of assets to categorize the assets that are in the estate and those that are held. For guidance, you can reach out to a real estate attorney and understand the different kinds of assets and how to categorize them.
Understand that not every asset goes through probate. Probate administration usually comes into play when an individual dies with his estates titled to his name. If in case there is a living revocable trust, then the estate asset will not go to probate. Furthermore, certain assets are deemed as non-probate assets even if they are not titled to a revocable living trust. To categorize estate assets efficiently, you need to understand the different regulations on estate assets to avoid pitfalls in the future. You can seek help from a board certified lawyer in Florida to get a better understanding:
Recognizing Probate Assets
The default rule for categorizing estate assets is that any asset owned by an intestate decedent i.e. when an individual dies without making a will. This could include property, vehicles, cash, etc. As a personal administrator, you shall be responsible for identifying all assets, administer them, pay off creditors, and hand over the ownership to the right beneficiary.
Non-probate assets are considered to never have been a part of the actual property and hence get to bypass probate. The ownership transfer from the decedent to the new owner is practically automatic. For instance, if a saving account is jointly held by a father and son, the rights to the account will automatically pass on to the second owner on the death of the first owner. This also applied to beneficiary accounts where a beneficiary is named in advance.
An experienced Fort Myers real estate attorney can be of great help in this matter. You can reach out to experts at Hale Law who have the experience and skill to help you sail through this business.
Enhanced Life Estates or Ladybird Deeds
Property and vehicles do not fall under the automatic transfer category. In Florida, however, enhanced life estates or Ladybird Deeds are recognized. With the Ladybird Deed, an owner can approximate the results of a TOD by reserving a life estate in land and also name a remainderman to take possession post his death.
Another form of estate asset that you must consider is that of joint ownership. Two of the three co-ownership models recognized in Florida include a right of survivorship. Under this right of survivorship, a person can automatically take full and undivided ownership of the property on the death of his or her partner.
However, if there is property that is jointly held in co-tenancy, it is bound to come under probate. This is because co-tenants own a percentage interest in an asset. Upon an owner’s death, the percentage interest becomes part of the probate estate. The interests in a co-tenancy are inherited through intestate succession, specified by will or distributed through a trust, etc.
Not sure you can handle this on your own? Worry not! You can seek help from Hale Law – Board certified lawyers and specialists at real estate regulations and transactions.
Reach Out for Expert Advice on Real Estate
Hale Law comprises expert Fort Myers real estate attorneys who have been assisting buyers and sellers legally through real estate transactions, preparation of closing documents, and easing real estate legalities for clients for years. If you are looking for a board certified lawyer to help you with real estate transactions, you can reach out to us by calling us at 239-931-6767. We would be happy to help you!