How to Avoid Probate in Florida
By: Julie Garber - February 09, 2018
While Florida probate is both expensive and time-consuming, in most cases its really easy to avoid. Yet many people fail to take any of the steps required to avoid Florida probate. Aside from this, Florida probate records are public court records that anyone can read, so anyone can go down to the local county ?courthouse and look at your probate file.
- In many cases adding a joint owner to an account or deed will be a taxable gift that needs to be reported to the IRS on a federal gift tax return (IRS Form 709).
- If a joint owner is sued or gets divorced, then a judgment creditor or divorcing spouse may be able to take the assets in the joint account or real estate that is owned jointly.
- If a joint owner dies before you do, then 50% or even 100% of the joint account could be included in the deceased owner's estate for estate tax purposes.
- If you're in a second or later marriage, leaving your property to your spouse by right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety will mean that your spouse will be free to do whatever he or she wants with your property after your spouse later dies. This may not be what you want - in other words, you may want your spouse to have use of your property after you die, but then after your spouse later dies you may want your property to go to your own children. In this situation, joint ownership with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety will not accomplish your final wishes since your spouse may freely choose to leave your property to your spouse's children or even to a new spouse instead of your children.
- While you're alive and well;
- If you become mentally incapacitated; and
- After you die.
** Disclaimer Required by IRS Circular 230** Unless otherwise expressly approved in advance by the undersigned, any discussion of federal tax matters herein is not intended and cannot be used 1) to avoid penalties under the Federal tax laws, or 2) to promote, market or recommend to another party any transaction or tax-related matter addressed.