How Do You Avoid Probate In Florida?

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Avoiding Probate In Florida


Welcome to Morgan Legal Group’s comprehensive guide on avoiding probate in Florida. Probate can be a complex and time-consuming legal process, but with careful planning and the right strategies, you can minimize its impact on your estate and loved ones. In this guide, we will explore effective methods to protect your assets and ensure a smoother transition of wealth to your heirs.

1. Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a powerful estate planning tool that allows you to retain control of your assets during your lifetime while avoiding probate upon your passing. To establish a revocable living trust in Florida, follow these steps:

Create the Trust

First, work with an experienced attorney to draft a trust agreement. You will name yourself as the trustee and the beneficiary during your lifetime, maintaining full control over the assets placed within the trust.

Transfer Assets

Transfer your assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and investments, into the trust’s name. This process is known as “funding” the trust.

Designate Successor Trustees

In the trust agreement, designate one or more successor trustees who will manage the trust and distribute assets to beneficiaries upon your passing or incapacity.

Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust offers several advantages:

  • Assets within the trust avoid probate, leading to faster distribution to beneficiaries.
  • Privacy is maintained since trust documents are not part of the public record.
  • Flexibility to amend or revoke the trust during your lifetime.

2. Joint Ownership

Another method to bypass probate is through joint ownership of assets. In Florida, you can hold property in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety if you are married. Here’s how it works:

Joint Tenancy

In joint tenancy, when one owner passes away, their share automatically transfers to the surviving owner(s). This process is known as the “right of survivorship.”

Tenants by the Entirety

Married couples can use tenants by the entirety for real estate, which offers similar benefits. If one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner.

3. Payable-on-Death (POD) and Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Accounts

For financial assets like bank accounts and investments, you can designate beneficiaries through POD or TOD arrangements:

POD Accounts

A POD account allows you to name beneficiaries who will inherit the account’s funds upon your passing. It’s a simple way to avoid probate for these assets.

TOD Accounts

TOD accounts are similar but are typically used for brokerage accounts. They provide a seamless transfer of investments to designated beneficiaries.

4. Life Insurance

Life insurance policies are an effective way to bypass probate. By naming specific beneficiaries in your policy, the death benefit is paid directly to them, avoiding the probate process entirely.

5. Beneficiary Deeds

Florida allows for the use of beneficiary deeds, also known as transfer-on-death deeds, for real estate. With this tool, you can designate a beneficiary who will automatically inherit the property upon your passing. This transfer occurs without the need for probate court involvement.

6. Small Estates

In Florida, estates valued at less than $75,000 may qualify for a simplified probate process. This can expedite the transfer of assets to heirs. However, it’s essential to consult with an attorney to determine if your estate qualifies for this procedure.

7. Gifts

Consider reducing the size of your estate by making gifts during your lifetime. You can gift up to a certain amount annually without incurring gift tax consequences. Gifting can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes while reducing the estate’s overall value subject to probate.

8. Homestead Exemption

Florida’s homestead exemption is a valuable tool for protecting your primary residence from certain creditors and may also expedite the property transfer to your heirs. Consult with an attorney to understand how this exemption applies to your situation.

9. Simplified Probate Procedures

If your estate does go through probate, Florida offers simplified procedures such as “summary administration” or “disposition without administration” for estates with limited assets or specific circumstances. These procedures can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with probate.

10. Consult an Attorney

The most crucial step in avoiding probate effectively is to consult with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. They can assess your unique situation, provide tailored advice, and help you create a comprehensive plan that aligns with your goals and preferences.


Avoiding probate in Florida is a goal many individuals have, and it’s achievable with the right strategies and guidance. Using tools like revocable living trusts, joint ownership, beneficiary designations, and consulting with an experienced attorney, you can streamline the transfer of your assets, maintain privacy, and provide for your loved ones according to your wishes.

We specialize in estate planning and probate matters at Morgan Legal Group in Miami. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let our experienced attorneys help you navigate the complexities of Florida’s probate laws and create a plan tailored to your needs.

For expert legal guidance on avoiding probate in Florida, contact Morgan Legal Group, Miami’s trusted law firm.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group PLLP.

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