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Daytona Beach Lawyers > Blog > Probate & Guardianships > Three Ways To Avoid Probate

Three Ways To Avoid Probate


Many people in Florida want to help their loved ones avoid the probate process because it is costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, avoiding probate is relatively easy but it does involve taking certain steps during your lifetime. Below, our Daytona Beach probate lawyer explains the most common ways to avoid the process.

What is Probate? 

Probate is a court-supervised process that administers the estate of someone who has passed away. During probate, the will of the decedent is proved, or validated. If a person has passed away without a will, the probate process will also designate a personal representative who will oversee the administration of the estate. Creditors can also make a claim against the estate, which reduces its value, as well as the inheritance beneficiaries will receive. Probate is a time-consuming process and it can take anywhere between a few months to two years or more. Probate can also be very expensive, which will also reduce the overall value of the estate.

Using a Living Trust to Avoid Probate 

Drafting a living trust is one of the most common ways people avoid probate. Living trusts are legal documents into which property is placed. Due to the fact that  living trusts are separate legal entities from the people who create them, they do not have to pass through probate because they do not technically belong to the deceased. Still, you can maintain and make changes to the document during your lifetime, including selling and transferring property within the trust. After you pass away, the successor trustee you name will oversee administration of the trust.

Using Jointly Owned Property to Avoid Probate 

Property that is jointly owned, such as a bank account or real estate, does not have to go through the probate process. However, the property must have survivorship rights to avoid the process. Married couples in Florida can co-own immovable property,  financial accounts, and tangible personal property through tenancy by entirety. This is a legal term that means each spouse owns 100 percent of the property.

Using Transfer on Death (TOD) to Avoid Probate 

Transfer on death (TOD) designations apply mainly to securities and real estate. When you create a TOD, you name one or more beneficiaries and after you pass away, your heirs will automatically receive the property without the need for it to go through probate. Immoveable property, such as your home, can be transferred to your beneficiaries after your death by using a ladybird deed, which means it does not have to go through probate.

Our Probate Lawyer in Daytona Beach Can Help You Avoid the Process 

Probate is a lengthy process that can make things even harder for your loved ones after you pass away. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Daytona Beach probate lawyer can review the facts of your situation and advise on the many ways you can help your loved ones avoid the process. Call us now at 386-252-5170 or chat with us online to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorney and to learn more about how we can help.



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