WHAT IS PROBATE? Probate is the court-supervised administration of a decedent’s estate. It is a process created by state law to transfer assets from the decedent’s name to his or her beneficiaries. A personal representative is appointed to handle the estate administration. The probate process ensures that creditors, taxes and expenses are paid before distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries. The personal representative is accountable to the court as well as the estate beneficiaries for his or her actions during the administration. For probate estates having less than $75,000 of non-exempt assets, Florida law provides a simplified probate procedure, known as summary administration.
ARE ALL ASSETS SUBJECT TO PROBATE? No, only assets owned by a decedent in his or her individual name require probate. Assets owned jointly as “tenants by the entirety” with a spouse, or “with rights of survivorship” with a spouse or any other person will pass to the surviving owner without probate. This is also true for assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, annuities, and bank accounts and investments designated as “pay on death” or “in trust for” a named beneficiary. Assets held in trust will also avoid probate.
For your estate planning in Lee, Hendry, and Collier Counties call a Mary A. Cosmo, Esquire at 239-208-2203.
 Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlet. http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/840090c16eedaf0085256b61000928dc/29619132e623c5ac85256d44006868fc?OpenDocument