In case you’re an owner of real estate in Florida but you aren’t a resident there, then one of the ways in which you can avoid probate in Florida is by getting rid of all of your real estate based in Florida. Not having any property would mean that you wouldn’t need to probate any kind of estate in Florida.
On a practical note, it’ll just be a win-win situation when you would gift your existing real estate in Florida to your beneficiaries or children, or whosoever concerned, for the purpose of reducing your estate’s overall value – thereby avoiding probate in Florida.
Another method to avoid probate in Florida is to add a joint owner to your account or to your real estate deed, if only such an account or real estate is jointly owned with rights of survivorship or tenancy be the entirety.
For instance, you and your legally married partner (spouse), using rights of survivorship through the medium of what we call ‘tenancy by the entirety’, can be owners of investment accounts or bank accounts, tangible properties and other kinds of real estate.
Using beneficiary designations or life estate deeds is yet another way of avoiding probate in Florida. Let’s illustrate that you are an owner of life insurance or annuity or assets under the purview of a retirement account like IRA 401 (k) – that automatically helps you avoid probate in Florida.
In Florida, you are legally permitted to designate beneficiaries for your bank accounts, which are specifically termed as POD (Payable on Death) accounts as well as for your TOD (Transfer on Death) account.
Also, there’s something called as a ‘Ladybird Deed’ in Florida, which is actually a life estate deed. You can use it to preserve your ownership over your Florida-based real estate while you’re alive and later you can transfer the same to your beneficiaries without going for probate in Florida.
You can also make use of a revocable living trust to avoid probate in Florida as your assets will be owned by such a trust after you die. This method involves quite tricky procedures, but it’s all worth it because you can end-up avoiding Florida probate in the first place.