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WILLS in Florida - do they all have to go to probate?

Jacksonville, FL |

I am divorced. My will designates my eldest son as executor - and all my assets are to be divided equally between my sons.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Yes-if assets are just in the name of the deceased and the heirs wish to obtain the assets.
    Assets in the name of a deceased required a court order granting the personal representative
    "Letters of Administration" to deal with deceased persons debts and assets.
    You can avoid probate in a variety of ways including a "living trust".

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  2. Depending on the value of your estate, and how your assets are currently titled, you estate will have to go through probate or small estate administration. If you want your sons to have to avoid probate, consult with an estate planning attorney.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  3. you can place your sons name on the title to your house and accounts but without the advice of a lawyer you may give up important rights such as control. speak to a lawyer to prepare the necessary documents to accomplish your goals. without reviewing all aspects the result could be less than optimal

    without a detailed review by a lawyer can all the issues raised in your question be appropriately addressed...nothing in this response should be construed as establishing a lawyer client relationship..the answers herein are for informational purposes and not to be construed as advice


  4. Yes, they do. Plus, the original will itself must be filed with the clerk of the court within 10 days of your death. Depending on the size of your estate, probate can be either formal or summary. If you are concerned, you should seek the advice of an estate-planning attorney who can review your situation and propose other options for your estate administration goals.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.


  5. A Will is only effective in Probate; so half the answer is YES. The other half of the answer is NO. Wow, we lawyers can make anything seem confusing, right? Here's how it can be both Yes and No: If all of your titled assets (houses, accounts, etc.) are in your own name, then the only way to transfer title to them after you die is with a court order (probate). But, if you have done some estate planning, then you might not die with any of those things solely in your own name. Joint ownership with right of survivorship, life estates, POD/TOD designations on bank/brokerage accounts, beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and insurance policies, and use of trusts are common ways to plan to avoid probate altogether. Trusts can also include planning for unforeseen events like your own incapacity, incapacity of your beneficiaries, future divorce or creditors of your beneficiaries, lack of investment experiences, squabbles between the kids, and other issues. Any of those unforeseen (yet extremely common) occurrences could wipe out your entire estate, if not planned for. If you'd like to talk about it more, that would be great.

    Reach me at dennis@411financial.com, (877) 411-3462, or (954) 900-2939. Do you know the consequences of your legal situation on your Financial & Estate Plan? I run a Florida law practice and a nationwide financial planning practice (411 Financial) in which I mostly work with people/families who have recently undergone a legal claim like personal injury, divorce, wrongful termination, etc. I find that money without purpose finds a way of getting spent; so I work with my clients to make sure that they have something to show for all of their troubles well after their legal claims are resolved. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, Panora, Iowa, Brokers International Financial Services, LLC is not affiliated with 411 Financial, 411 LegalDox, or 411 FlaLaw. Disclaimer: The response above is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, would significantly alter the above response.


  6. As my colleagues have stated, the only time a Will is effective is when it is admitted to probate. For this reason, a Will is often not the best planning tool to use. If probate avoidance is your objective, then you need to meet with an estate planning attorney and structure things differently. There are a number of alternatives, but it is not possible to pick the ideal one for your situation without knowing a lot more about your facts and objectives. You also need to make sure you have durable power of attorney forms in place, so you would not need to have a probate proceeding to appoint a guardian/conservator for you, if you ever become incapacitated.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!