Generally speaking, probate is a legal process where a decedent's will is administered under the court's supervision. After the probate court has determined the deceased's will is valid, all of the assets in the deceased's estate are distributed by the executor to the named beneficiaries as directed by the will. If a person dies intestate -- that is, without a valid will -- the deceased's assets will pass to his heirs in accordance with state probate laws for inheritance and intestate succession.
Named Assets in the Will
All assets named specifically in the will are subject to probate in Florida. For example, if the deceased specifically identifies an asset, it is subject to probate. For example, with the phrase "I leave my house to my children," the deceased's house, which is specifically identified in the will, will be subject to probate in Florida.
If an asset is not specifically named but is implied through the language in the will, it is also subject to probate in Florida. For example, if the deceased's will reads "I leave 50 percent of my assets to my church and the rest to my grandchildren," all assets owned by the deceased then pass through probate, although no one asset was specifically named.
Other Considerations for Assets
Any assets owned by the deceased and the deceased alone -- that is, any property that is not jointly owned with someone else or property where a third party has an interest -- is also subject to probate in Florida, even if the asset is not specifically named or implied in the will.
Real property, money held in bank accounts, personal items stored in a safety deposit box, stock, automobiles, boats, household furnishings and personal property are probate assets, divisible at death unless they are transferred into a trust.
Retirement plans, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs and life insurance polices are non-probate assets under most state laws.
- Law Info: What Assets Are Subject To Probate Administration?
- Florida Bar: Probate in Florida
- Florida Probate Guide
- Legal Assistance for Military Personnel. "Powers of Attorney." Accessed April 13, 2020.
- IRS. "Deceased Taxpayers – Understanding the General Duties as an Estate Administrator." Accessed April 13, 2020.
- Wayne County Probate and Juvenile Court. "Full Administration With and Without A Will." Accessed April 13, 2020.
- Michigan Legal Help. "An Overview of Informal Probate." Accessed April 13, 2020.
- California Courts. "Simplified Procedures to Transfer an Estate." Accessed April 13, 2020.
- AARP. "10 Things You Should Know About Living Trusts." Accessed April 13, 2020.
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- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. "Right of Survivorship." Accessed April 13, 2020.
Lindsay Nixon has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Vegetarian Times," "Women's Health Magazine" and online for The Huffington Post. She is also a published author, lawyer and certified personal trainer. Nixon has two Bachelors of Arts in classics and communications from the College of Charleston and a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law.