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Orlando Estate Planning, Wills & Probate Lawyer
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Orlando Real Estate Probate Lawyer

The probate of Florida real estate is too important to leave to chance

When a Florida will leaves real estate to heirs, it is important to engage the assistance of an experienced Orlando real estate probate lawyer, such as a lawyer at Gierach and Gierach, P.A., even when the identity of the designated heirs is undisputed. Real estate matters often involve multiple parties, including creditors and title insurers, and the legal transfer must satisfy each party’s own standards.

Does real estate always go through probate?

Even if the decedent was the sole owner of real estate and a valid will was executed, probate is still required to properly transfer the real estate to the decedent’s heirs. Title insurance companies and other legal entities may not recognize a simple transfer of deed as a transfer of ownership. On the other hand, if the deed on the real estate indicates that the property was owned as a tenancy by the entirety, where the surviving spouse enjoys a right of survivorship, then probate is not required to transfer ownership to the surviving spouse.

Homestead and Florida probate

When a spouse or minor child survives the decedent, the decedent’s homestead cannot be passed by a valid will to anyone other than that spouse or minor child. If the decedent dies intestate, without a will, and is survived by a spouse and direct descendants, the spouse receives a life estate in the homestead, and the lineal descendants own the remaining interest in the property.

When a non-resident owns Florida real estate

When a Florida property owner who lives out of state dies, ancillary probate administration must be initiated in the county where the property is located to transfer the real property to the rightful heirs. Ancillary probate administration usually occurs simultaneously with the probate action in the decedent’s domicile state. Attorneys from Gierach and Gierach, P.A. regularly help people from other states with probate assistance in Florida.

There are two alternatives to the ancillary proceedings that may allow the heirs to skip formal administration:

  • The first alternative occurs when the decedent has already completed probate proceedings in another jurisdiction. If the only remaining asset is the Florida real estate, the property may be transferred without a formal administration. The heir must petition to admit the foreign will to record after the discharge of the domiciliary personal representative or after two years from the decedent’s passing.
  • The second alternative is based on the real estate’s value: When the decedent’s Florida real estate is worth $50,000 or less, ancillary probate may not require a formal proceeding in Florida. When probate in a decedent’s domicile state is completed, the personal representative can file a transcript in Florida to validate the will and identify the beneficiaries of the estate so no formal Florida proceeding is necessary.

Call us for trustworthy legal advice and personal legal services

Our Orlando probate lawyers handle a wide range of probate affairs on behalf of our clients in Winter Park, Orlando, and throughout Orange County. Call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-545-5744 or (844) 431-0813, or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation about real estate probate in Florida. We also assist people from other states needing legal assistance in Florida.

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