Florida Probate Attorneys: Asset Transfers
Often when a person dies, he or she leaves assets to friends and relatives. Probate is the legal process during which an estate becomes settled. In the state of Florida, it is essential to understand the rules of asset transfer and how things are settled with and without a will. To help sort through the questions, it is wise to consult with a probate lawyer in Gainesville, FL.
Common Ways to Transfer Assets
Drafting a will is the most common way to transfer assets. A probate lawyer in Gainesville, FL, will help you create a will that protects your loved ones. A person must sign the document which dictates how assets will be divided after his or her death. If no will exists, a court will appoint a person (known as a personal representative) to distribute the assets.
When substantial assets exist, a transfer is usually completed through a trust. This process requires various documents, including a certified copy of the trust instrument, proof of ownership, and a taxpayer identification number. A "True Copy Attested by" contains the trustee's original signature. If the agreement is a revocable living trust, it is possible to use the grantor's Social Security Number. Also, it is essential to have proof the grantor owns the property in question. In certain circumstances, registration forms, signature cards, and other documentation may be necessary. Gainesville probate lawyers will know exactly what paperwork is required.
Types of Property that Can be Transferred
In Florida, it is important to learn the types of property that can be transferred. Our probate attorneys in Gainesville, FL can explain which assets do not go through the Florida probate process, including:
- joint property
- assets designated with a beneficiary
- assets in a living trust
Florida allows a person to register stocks and bonds in a transfer-on-death form. This is common for a brokerage account. The named beneficiary inherits the account automatically. Unfortunately, the state does not allow motor vehicles or real estate to be transferred in this manner.
What Happens With and Without a Will
Within a will, a decedent can name beneficiaries or designate a personal representative to administer his or her estate. If a will is found invalid or does not exist, the people responsible for the probate assets will be determined according to Florida probate laws.
Probate attorneys in Gainesville, FL uphold the fact the state distributes assets to decedent's heirs according to this priority list:
- When a spouse outlives the decedent, this person receives the probate estate.
- If a living spouse has additional living descendants not related to the decedent, the spouse receives half of the estate. The remaining descendants split the other half.
- If a decedent has no spouse and was survived by descendants, they receive the probate estate. Items will be divided at the generational level.
- If a decedent is not married and has no living descendants, the estate goes to his or her parents or siblings.
Seek Assistance From a Florida Probate Law Firm
The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates is a Florida probate law firm that serves Gainesville and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys have years of experience settling estates and helping clients transfer assets. The entire probate process can get quite confusing, so you need someone by your side every step of the way.
When it comes time to draft a will or deal with the estate of the dearly departed, contact Gainesville probate lawyers you can trust and set up a free consultation with our team.