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Probate and Treatment of Homestead Property

Florida probate laws can be very complex and confusing. A Clearwater probate attorney can explain to you that there are several different types of probate depending upon the worth of your estate and that not all of your assets may be considered “probate assets” subject to the probate process. In addition, there may be special rules that apply to your home.

Probate Explained by a Clearwater Probate Lawyer

Generally, probate is the court process for distributing the assets of someone after death. As part of the process, the court will determine your assets, gather the assets, determine who the beneficiaries are, and pay off any debts that the deceased person may owe. The probate process is a public process and can be very expensive and time-consuming. As a result, you may want to explore methods to avoid probate with your estate planning attorney.

Not all of your assets will pass through the probate process. Instead, only your “probate assets” will be subject to the proceeding. Assets that usually are not considered probate assets may include assets that have been placed into a trust or some other entity, or assets that have an automatic succession upon death like annuities, life insurance policies, and certain property held jointly with rights of survivorship.

Probate of Homestead

The concept of “homestead” can be confusing because it is used in the law in three different ways:

  1. “Homesteads” get special treatment so that your real estate taxes are lower due to the homestead exemption plus “Olmsted” property is eligible for the “save our homestead”.
  2. In many circumstances (though not all) a Floridian’s homestead may be exempt from the claims of creditors. This homestead treatment can pass through to certain beneficiaries so that, under certain circumstances, the homestead to can pass to Beneficiaries exempt from the claims of creditors. When it comes to Homestead, as long as Floridian’s pay their mortgage, condo or homeowner association dues, ad valorem taxes and contractors improving the home, very few others would be able to attach claims to the homestead.
  3. The third way that the concept of “homestead” is used in Florida law is for the protection of the descendants of the property owner. For instance, if the Homestead is only in one of the spouses name, typically, the surviving spouse may obtain certain rights including the right to live in the home for the rest of his or her life.

All of these “homestead” issues can be complex and you should seek the assistance of a licensed Florida attorney to address these items.

Contact a Clearwater Probate Attorney

If you have any questions about the probate process and how your assets are treated, you will want to talk to an experienced Clearwater probate attorney. Contact a probate attorney at the Coleman Law Firm by calling 727-461-7474 to discuss your case.

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