Automatic Transfers of Property to Avoid Probate
In a previous post, we discussed the best ways for Florida residents to transfer real estate quickly upon their death and avoid probate. We know you own much more than real estate, and you may wish to transfer numerous other assets outside of probate as well. Here are methods of avoiding probate for your non-real estate property. To learn more about ways for your family to avoid probate, contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney today.
A living trust can be used to transfer any kind of property, not just real estate. You may create a trust that exists during your life and transfer ownership of all types of property into it, including your vehicles, bank accounts, investments, pieces of art, jewelry, and other personal items. There must be a trustee to control the trust during your life, and you can name yourself as trustee. You also will name a successor trustee and your intended beneficiaries for the items held in the trust. When you pass, your successor trustee will ensure your items pass onto the beneficiaries directly, bypassing probate.
If you wish for a family member or romantic partner to have immediate access to one or more bank accounts upon your death, you may create a joint account. With a joint account, both of you have access to the funds during your life. If you do not want the other person to have access until after your passing, then consider payable-on-death accounts.
Payable-On-Death Bank Accounts
You may designate your checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit to be paid to an intended beneficiary upon your death. During your life, the beneficiary does not have access to your account. When you pass away, your beneficiary can claim that account’s funds immediately without going through probate.
You can similarly transfer stocks and bonds to a beneficiary upon your death. You can register a brokerage account as transfer-on-death to one person without that account going through probate. Your intended beneficiary will then deal with the company holding your account to gain ownership of the investments.
If you have specific items you want to go to certain family members, friends, or charitable organizations, consider making gifts of these items during your life. You may wish to pass on pieces of art, clothing, and jewelry to your children and grandchildren. If you have an extensive art collection, you may wish to donate it to a museum or art gallery. If you have extensive savings, you may wish to make donations to charities close to your heart. However, always speak with a lawyer first. You do not want to make gifts that could harm your financial situation in your later years.
Contact a Florida Probate Lawyer Today
If you want to plan for your estate to avoid probate entirely, or for as much property transfer outside of probate as possible, then you need to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. The Florida attorneys at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. are here to help. Contact us online or give us a call at 561-571-8970 to schedule a consultation.