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Mark R. Manceri, P.A. Skilled & Trusted Representation
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Pompano Beach Probate vs Nonprobate Assets Lawyer

As an attorney practicing exclusively in the areas of Florida wills, trusts and estates litigation and administration, Mark R. Manceri understands the importance of distinguishing between probate and nonprobate assets for the purpose of probate or estate administration. Even if you have already created all the wills and trusts in your estate plan, it is still possible to revisit your property and remove assets from probate by changing the title or other facts of ownership. Learn more about the difference between probate and nonprobate assets below, and contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. in Pompano Beach for probate advice and assistance with a Broward County estate.

Florida probate assets

Probate is a legal process conducted under the supervision of the county court that gives effect to the terms of a will and otherwise disposes of a deceased person’s property according to law. Often a major goal in estate planning is to remove property from the probate estate so that it can be transferred to beneficiaries more quickly and easily.

Probate assets include any property and assets that were owned solely by the deceased at the time of death. A house, car or boat in the deceased’s name is a probate asset. Other probate assets could include jewelry, art, collectibles and memorabilia. All of a deceased person’s personal property is considered probate property as well, even if it does not typically come with a title or other certificate of ownership. Probate property can include clothing, household furniture, appliances, lawn equipment, etc. The process of inventorying a deceased person’s estate is a tedious yet necessary part of the probate process to ensure the terms of a will are given full effect or that beneficiaries get the full value entitled to them under Florida intestacy laws.

Nonprobate assets in Florida

Just as property titled solely in the deceased person’s name is probate property, property held jointly is generally a nonprobate asset. However, joint property must be designated properly in order to avoid probate. In most cases, this means that the property or real estate is held as joint tenants with a right of survivorship, sometimes abbreviated JTWROS. In Florida, property held as a tenancy by the entireties is treated as nonprobate property as well. However, other types of seemingly joint title, such as a tenancy in common, is still considered probate property. An experienced Florida probate attorney can help you determine whether certain real property needs to go through probate or not.

Other nonprobate assets include assets with beneficiary designations, such as life insurance policies. Bank accounts and IRAs with POD (Pay on Death) provisions are nonprobate, as are stocks, bonds and securities with TOD (Transfer on Death) provisions. These assets pass to the designated beneficiary at death without having to go through probate.

The other major type of nonprobate property is trust property. Any assets which are placed into a living trust do not have to go through probate. If the trust is created in a will (testamentary trust), it will have to go through probate first. Avoiding or minimizing probate is the main reason most individuals create living trusts as part of their estate plan.

Is it probate or nonprobate?

Note that the same types of property could be probate or nonprobate assets, depending upon how they are held or titled. This could include the home or other real estate property, cars, boats, motorcycles, bank accounts and investment accounts, which may be singly or jointly titled. Insurance policies and pensions plans are nonprobate assets only if they contain proper beneficiary designations; otherwise they are to be probated. Property held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship is a nonprobate asset, but that same property held as tenants in common must go through probate.

Probate Questions? Call Mark R. Manceri, P.A. in Pompano Beach

For help probate or trust administration of a Broward County estate, or for representation in any probate or trust dispute, call Mark R. Manceri, P.A. in Pompano Beach at 954-491-7099.

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