Probate is the process in which, upon your death, your assets will be passed on to your heirs either per the terms of your will or per state law. Some assets must be probated, and some assets can bypass the probate process. You can name who you want to inherit your assets in a will or trust.
What assets are probated?
Property that is owned by a person upon their death will be probated, with some exceptions. Generally, this includes property that is owned solely by the deceased. Some examples of assets that could be probated include real estate owned by the deceased alone and personal property such as jewelry, furniture and collectables. Assets in a will are probated.
What assets bypass probate?
Not all assets owned by the deceased go through probate. For example, any assets in a trust will not be probated. Financial accounts that are designated as payable-upon-death accounts will not be probated. Life insurance distributions are not probated. Real estate owned by the deceased and another person such as a spouse will not be probated if it is a homestead property.
When there is no will or trust
You can designate who should inherit your assets in a will or trust. Wills go through the probate process. Trusts do not. If you do not have a will or trust, your assets will be passed on to your wills through Florida laws on intestate succession. If you want to have a say in who inherits your property, you should make sure to execute a will or trust during your lifetime.