Probate is a judicial process determining how to dispose of assets after someone's death. Not all assets need to go through probate. Some properties can pass automatically, while other properties will require a judge's order to pass.
Read on for an overview of probate in Volusia County.
The Florida legislature divided the state into 20 judicial circuits. These judicial circuits have jurisdiction over cases that arise within their boundaries.
If the deceased person had a will, you or the decedent's Daytona Beach wills lawyer could file a petition with a copy of the will. If the decedent left no will, you could file a petition without attaching a will.
Volusia County does not have dedicated probate judges. Instead, the circuit court judges get assigned probate cases in the regular judicial rotation.
A probate proceeding will address and resolve several issues, including:
Ultimately, the probate judge will provide the personal representative with clear instructions. The representative will follow these instructions to transfer or liquidate the estate's property. These instructions will tell the personal representative what to do with the proceeds of any liquidated property.
As you plan your estate, you probably cannot avoid probate entirely. Personal property and sentimental mementos usually get passed through a will that must get probated.
But probate introduces uncertainty to your estate plan. And the estate must pay to hire a lawyer for the personal representative. Minimizing the property that goes through probate will reduce costs and ensure your wishes get carried out.
Some ways to reduce the assets that go through probate include:
When you put property into a trust, you no longer own it. The trust owns the property, and you benefit from it. When you die, the trust will dispose of the assets as directed in the trust instrument. Since you did not own the assets when you died, the assets do not go through probate.
Any property you own jointly with another person, such as a spouse, will pass to the joint owner automatically. The right of survivorship transfers ownership without a judge's order. Thus, jointly held assets with a right of survivorship will not go through probate.
If you name a beneficiary in your insurance policies and financial accounts, the financial institution can transfer ownership without waiting for a probate proceeding. But if you fail to name a beneficiary, the money gets added to your estate and must go through probate.