To accomplish the eight probate avoidance techniques in Florida, you should understand both the specific Florida laws and relevant federal laws that apply to each technique. Here's a brief overview:

  1. Set Up Payable-on-Death Accounts (POD)

    • Florida Law: Florida Statutes §655.82 governs POD accounts. You can designate beneficiaries on bank accounts, and the funds will be transferred to them upon your death without going through probate.
    • Federal Law: Federal laws don’t directly impact POD accounts, but tax implications might apply based on the size of the estate.
  2. Name a Beneficiary for Your Retirement Accounts

    • Florida Law: Not specific to Florida; retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s typically bypass probate and go directly to the named beneficiaries.
    • Federal Law: Federal tax laws govern required minimum distributions (RMDs) and tax treatments of inherited retirement accounts.
  3. Name a Beneficiary for Your Stocks and Bonds

    • Florida Law: Florida's Uniform Transfer-on-Death Securities Registration Act allows for transfer-on-death (TOD) registration of securities.
    • Federal Law: Federal regulations may apply to the transfer of certain securities, especially in tax treatment.
  4. Name a Beneficiary for Your Vehicles

    • Florida Law: Florida allows for TOD registration of vehicles. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can provide specific procedures.
    • Federal Law: Generally, there are no federal laws directly impacting TOD for vehicles.
  5. Name a Beneficiary for Your Real Estate

    • Florida Law: Florida doesn’t currently allow transfer-on-death deeds for real estate. Alternatives include joint tenancy or a living trust.
    • Federal Law: Federal tax laws, like estate tax, may apply depending on the value of the property.
  6. Hold Property in Joint Ownership

    • Florida Law: Property can be held as joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, which avoids probate upon death. Florida does not recognize community property.
    • Federal Law: Federal tax implications, especially for estate tax, can apply depending on how the property is held and its value.
  7. Create a Living Trust

    • Florida Law: Florida recognizes living trusts as a means to avoid probate. You need to create and fund the trust correctly.
    • Federal Law: Federal tax laws, particularly regarding trusts and estates, are relevant for tax implications and reporting requirements.
  8. Take Advantage of Special Procedures for Small Estates

    • Florida Law: Florida provides simplified probate processes for small estates (Florida Statutes §735.201-206). This includes the use of disposition without administration for very small estates.
    • Federal Law: Federal laws don’t specifically address small estate procedures, but tax reporting requirements may still apply.

Each of these techniques requires specific legal procedures and documentation. It's important to consult with a Florida estate planning attorney to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and to address your specific circumstances. Remember, while this website can provide information on these topics, it cannot offer legal advice.


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Jurisdictional relevance:

There are versions of this article for each State.

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