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Which assets are subject to passing through probate?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Probate |

The Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator reported the number of circuit probate filings in 2022 was around 161,000. Most estates will go through this process, but it can be complex.

Not all assets are subject to passing through this process. Two criteria typically determine if an asset goes through probate.

Sole ownership

Assets the deceased solely owned will typically have to pass through probate proceedings. Due to the solo ownership, there is no legal pathway for someone else to take over, so the court has to step in. Through probate, the court will find the rightful heir who has the ability to take over legal ownership of the asset.

Provisions for distribution

If assets have a lack of clear provisions for distribution, such as a beneficiary or specific instructions within a will or trust, then they will go through probate. When assets lack these explicit directives, the court intervenes to ensure an orderly and fair distribution among potential heirs.

Examples of probatable assets

Two of the most common examples of assets that have to go through probate are real estate and financial accounts. Real estate may have to go through the process when the deceased was a sole owner. There may be exceptions if it is a homestead. Bank accounts and investment accounts, including stocks and bonds, also may go through probate.

Understanding the intricacies of probate-bound assets underscores the importance of estate planning, allowing individuals to safeguard their legacy and facilitate a seamless asset transition process for their heirs.