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Does every estate go to probate?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Blog |

Probate often gets a bad reputation, but in reality, it is not that horrible. In fact, it can be quite helpful when dispersing an estate. It can also ensure everything goes according to the law. However, not every estate will require probate. 

According to the Florida Bar, only cases where there are probate assets will need to go through the process. Not everything you own requires probate because another law says it automatically passes to another person upon your death. If you have an estate with heirs, then it will usually go through probate, but there are some exceptions. 

Joint accounts 

If you own an account or asset with another person, the law says that a person becomes the sole owner upon your death. The only way to avoid this is to pass your shares of ownership to an heir in your estate plan, which would then have to go through probate. 

Beneficiary accounts 

If you have life insurance or other accounts where you had to name a beneficiary, then these do not require probate. The law says the beneficiary automatically becomes the owner of the account or asset. There is no need for the court to step in because you have already completed the paperwork to make this a legal transfer. 

Assets to your spouse 

Lastly, if you do not have many assets and you wish for everything to go to your spouse, then the court will usually not require probate. The succession laws would automatically give your assets to your spouse anyway, so there is really no need for probate.