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What assets does a Florida court consider to be probate assets?

Probate is the process by which the assets and property of a deceased individual are identified and labeled by a court and then distributed to the testator’s beneficiaries after these assets are used to first pay off any outstanding debt that the testator may have had, including probate costs. But, there are many different kinds of assets that can be a part of an estate. So, exactly what type of assets does a Florida court consider to be probate assets?

Generally, probate assets are any type of asset that was solely owned by the testator or that were owned by the testator and at least one other person but did not include any language that named another successor in the event the testator died. A very common example of this would be a bank account owned by the testator. If the account was solely owned by the testator, then that account would be considered a probate asset. However, if the account was held by an additional party who had specific rights of survivorship or transfer, then that account would not be considered a probate asset.

Life insurance policies and individual retirement accounts can sometimes also fall under probate assets. If the testator had one of these assets and that policy or account was payable to someone after the testator’s death, then that asset would not be a probate asset. But if that same asset is payable to the testator’s estate, then it would be considered a probate asset.

Depending on the situation, real estate and property can also be considered probate assets. However, any Florida resident who is unsure if some of their assets would be considered probate assets, or who has other probate issues, may want to speak with an estate planning attorney in order to get a clearer understanding of these assets.

Source: floridabar.org, “Probate in Florida pamphlet”, Accessed Nov. 17, 2015

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