In a recent case decided in January 2015, Blechman v. Estate of Blechman, the Florida District Court of Appeal held that the provisions of a particular Limited Liability Company's (LLC) operating agreement governed the transfer of a decedent's ownership interest in an LLC at death instead of transfer by the provisions of his Last Will and Testament.
So What Does This Mean?
In part, it means that in Florida an LLC's operating agreement can be used to transfer a person's ownership interest in an LLC without any requirement of probate and that such transfer will not be affected by, or required to be included in, the Last Will and Testament of the person who died.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process by which a court appoints someone to manage your affairs. That person pays your debts and distributes your assets to your heirs, according to your wishes as set forth in your will, or according to state law if you have no will. The process takes a year or so, longer if there are complex issues to resolve and can thousands of dollars, usually based on the value of the total value of your estate. In the case of an LLC, the value of your total business assets could be substantial with probate fees being quite excessive and impacting upon your beneficiaries once you have passed.
Avoid Probate With an Attorney
If you or your partners own a business in the form of an LLC and you have not included language in the operating agreement that protects your assets and avoids probate, you should strongly consider visiting an attorney with Jackson Law right away to amend the operating agreement of your LLC to include the appropriate probate protection language. Call (407) 477-5046 for a consultation.