If you own real estate and are in the process of writing your will or establishing a trust, it is important to understand how the probate process could potentially impact your heirs. Legal Counsel, P.A. employs a real estate attorney that assists clients in Orlando, Florida with real estate sales and transfers as well as with probate and estate planning. With our ability to navigate the areas of both real estate law and estate planning law, Legal Counsel, P.A. can help you address some of the tougher challenges that can arise with end of life planning and real estate.
What is probate? The probate process is the legal process that is generally followed after a person passes away. The deceased person’s assets and debts are accounted for and appraised. Then, the deceased person’s expenses are paid using the assets of the estate. This court supervised process may involve paying for the probate process itself, and paying any remaining debts, taxes, and funeral expenses. Once debts have been paid, then the remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries named in the will, or, if there is no will, Florida’s intestate inheritance laws apply, and distribute assets to the next of kin.
Real estate may or may not be subject to the probate process in Florida. For example, if real estate is jointly owned and only one of the joint owners passes away, the remaining surviving joint owner holds title to the real estate asset, without the need for probate. If the real estate is held in a trust, then the real estate may also not need to pass to heirs through probate. If the real estate is probate property, then it is not subject to the probate court in Florida, however, the probate court shall make a determination of homestead status. If you own real estate and are interested in helping your heirs avoid probate, you may have several estate planning options. What are they? Are they the right choice for you? Every situation is unique and what will work for one person may not work for another situation. Legal Counsel, P.A. is a real estate law firm in Orlando, Florida that can take the time to understand your unique situation, your goals, and assist you with developing an estate plan that takes your real estate into consideration.
Ways to Avoid Probate with Real Estate in Florida
How can you avoid putting your heirs through the sometimes costly and time-consuming probate process? If you own real estate, and only pass the real estate to your heirs in your will, your heirs may need to go through the probate process in order to get title to the real estate. However, there are several other options:
- Pass the real estate on to your heirs while you are still alive. One option is to pass title to your heirs now. A real estate lawyer at Legal Counsel, P.A. can help you understand the tax implications and legal aspects of choosing this option.
- Put your heir on title as an owner with “rights of survivorship.” Adding another person to the title with “rights of survivorship” makes this individual an owner of the property, meaning that when you pass away, he or she will become the sole owner of the property, with no need for the real estate to pass through probate. A real estate lawyer at Legal Counsel, P.A. in Orlando, Florida can assist you with adding a name to your title, if this is something you are considering doing as part of your estate plan.
- Place the real estate in a trust. By putting the title of your home in your trust, and by naming your heirs as beneficiaries to the trust, you can help your heirs avoid probate. A trust is a great way to pass on real estate that may be held in multiple states, therefore helping your heirs avoid having to go through probate in each state. However, a trust can sometimes be costly to establish and manage, so it is important to discuss all your legal options with a real estate and probate lawyer at Legal Counsel, P.A.
These are just some of the options that may be available to you when it comes to passing real estate on to your heirs while avoiding the probate process. Some states may offer additional options, and if you are dealing with real estate or property in other countries, other considerations may need to be taken into account. Do you have questions about how you can best pass real estate to your heirs? Call Legal Counsel, P.A. and speak with a real estate attorney in Orlando, Florida who may be able to assist you.
Real Estate and Your Will in Orlando, Florida
When writing your last will and testament, it is important to consider how real estate will be passed to your heirs. If you include real estate in your will, generally real estate will pass to your heirs through the probate process. If there is no will, Florida’s intestate inheritance laws will apply. Want to make sure your legacy and wishes are honored after you pass away? Want to protect your heirs as they navigate the probate process after you pass? Contact a real estate lawyer at Legal Counsel, P.A. in Orlando, Florida who may be able to assist you with your estate planning, real estate transfer, and other estate planning considerations. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.