How to Avoid Probate

How Do I Avoid Probate in Florida?

Estate Planning Strategies for Avoiding Probate in FL

Many people make plans to avoid probate because it takes a long time and it can cost a lot of money to complete.

How to avoid probate:

At Jackson Law, we understand how anxious you may be to ensure that your estate does not have to pass through the probate process. If you are concerned with making sure that your loved ones are able to enjoy the full benefits of the fruit of your lifelong hard work, it is in your best interests to implement an estate plan that anticipates the issue of probate and effectively removes your personal assets from the requirement to probate the will.

Speak with probate avoidance lawyers in Orlando at Jackson Law PA today. Contact us online or call (407) 477-5046 for a consultation.

Ways Probate Can Be Avoided

Send Gifts to Heirs

Probate is the process in which the assets of a decedent's estate are distributed after their death. The simplest solution for avoiding probate is to make gifts to your heirs while you are still alive. Anything you give to your loved ones not subject to probate since it is no longer an asset of your personal estate.

A downside to this approach is that you can only give a certain amount to each person in any given year before you may be required to pay a gift tax. The maximum allowable gift changes periodically but is currently set by the IRS at $14,000 per year to each recipient. Another disadvantage of gifting is that you have to give up the assets or funds while you are still alive.

Setting Up Joint Ownership of Assets

Anything that you and your spouse own jointly will automatically skip probate since full ownership will automatically revert to the surviving spouse. If your vehicle, bank accounts, securities, home, or other assets are solely in the name of either you or your spouse, adding the other person's name to the title can prevent probate, at least for the transfer of assets to the other spouse.

Pay-on-Death Accounts or Transfer-on-Death Accounts

It is possible to designate a checking or savings account as a pay-on-death account (POD) naming another person as the beneficiary. As the name implies, a pay-on-death account will automatically transfer funds to the beneficiary upon the death of the account holder. It does not create joint ownership of the account, but rather provides that the beneficiary will receive the funds when the qualifying event takes place. A similar option is the transfer-on-death account (TOD), which transfers securities including stocks and bonds.

Unfortunately, the funds in such accounts may be exposed to the claims of creditors of the decedent. Furthermore, this estate planning instrument is nowhere near as flexible as certain other options.

Creating Revocable Trusts

Perhaps the most powerful and flexible estate planning strategy for avoiding probate is the revocable trust. When you establish a revocable trust (also referred to a living trust or inter vivos trust), you, as the grantor or settlor, transfer funds into the trust, which is also known as "funding the trust." The trustee then assumes control of the trust fund and all assets contained therein.

Revocable trusts work to avoid probate by removing the assets from your estate, but this does not mean that you will be depriving yourself of the control and possession of these assets since you can name yourself as the trustee. Upon your death, the successor trustee will assume control and will then distribute the assets according to the terms and schedule that you have specified in the trust.

Hire Our Orlando Probate Avoidance Lawyers

It is in your best interests to hire an experienced Orlando probate avoidance lawyer to ensure that you make no errors in the drafting of the documents and the funding of the trust and that the instrument will stand up to legal challenges and operate according to your wishes. In addition to establishing a revocable trust, you may choose to draft a pour-over will to direct that any assets not held in the trust will be transferred to the trust upon your death.

Related Blogs

To discuss your situation and begin working on the strategy best suited for you, contact us now. Call (407) 477-5046. Jackson Law PA can help you.

What Can Jackson Law Offer You?

  • One-On-One Attention & Personalized Solutions

    No two cases are alike and no two individuals are the same. As such, we offer personalized legal solutions to each of our clients.

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating

    Our attorney has received one of the most prestigious and sought after peer-review ratings in the legal profession.

  • Special-Counsel Team Of Reputable Attorneys

    We've established a special-counsel team of attorneys who have more than 50 years of combined experience in various fields of law.

  • More Than 75 Years Of Combined Legal Experience

    We have an in-depth understanding of the laws surrounding your case & are fully equipped to secure a favorable case outcome.

Our Memberships & Ratings

  • The Florida Bar
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • United States District Court
  • NAELA (National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc)
  • NAEPC (National Association of Estate Planners & Councils)
  • Florida Association for Women Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating
  • Five Star Professional (Wealth Manager)
  • CFAWL (Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers)
  • Woamtec (Women On A Mission To Earn Commission)

Do You Have A Case For Us?

Contact Us Today!
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.