Probate allows the court to oversee the distribution of your assets and ensure the legality of the process. It allows your relatives to protect your assets as well if there are concerns about someone influencing your estate plan.
For most people, probate is not a long process. Wrapping up your business may take a short time if you have everything in place prior to your death. However, if there are challenges or other complications, probate can drag on.
One of the things you can do to help move things along is to ensure you have mostly assets that do not need to go through the probate process because the Florida Bar explains not all assets are probate assets.
Assets that bypass probate
Some assets already have a legal status that will pass them on automatically upon your death. Accounts with a beneficiary are an example. Another example is a jointly owned asset that has a provision to pass into the other owner’s name upon your death.
Real estate you own with anyone else automatically will go to the other owner or owners upon your death. You should not need to do anything special for this to happen. Other jointly owned property may be different, so you should ensure you check into that as part of your estate planning.
Assets that go through probate
Anything you own in your name only or assets you own with others without a legal precedent for automatically passing them on upon your death must go through probate. The process ensures court oversight. It allows the court to make sure everything happens according to your wishes or the law.
Probate helps with the legal transfer of ownership. If you have assets that will already legally transfer, then they do not need to go through probate.