What to do about probate if my mother has no real property and limited personal property?

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What to do about probate if my mother has no real property and limited personal property?

Her assets (bulk) consist of a bank account jointly owned by her and 2 sisters. The balance is $100k and she has a Will or legacy document that instructs her sisters to distribute by executor per her explicit wishes (children, grandchildren, etc.). She has no debt whatsoever. Does this estate need to go through probate or can family executor handle? Does Will have to be filed with clerk of circuit court?

Asked on December 11, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is very likely that all of your mother's assets will go to her 2 sisters and not to any children or grandchildren.  In Florida, bank accounts are presumed to be owned by the people listed on the accounts.  If your mother's 2 sisters are listed on the account, especially as "owners," then the accounts belong to them.  They can take everything now and, if your mother passes away, everything belongs to them.

I don't know what you mean by "will or legacy document."  Like all states, Florida has strict standards for how to prepare a will.  If the will does not meet these standards, it is not effective.  Florida does not recognize a "legacy document."  However, even if your mother has an effective will, the bank account will automatically go to the "owners" and the will cannot change that.

$100,000 is enough money to justify consulting a lawyer.  I suggest your mother consult a life or estate planning lawyer to understand how to transfer her assets and make sure the transfer occurs according to her wishes.  Choosing an elder law attorney for this consultation is also a good idea just in case your mother or her sisters need a nursing home in the future.  You want to do nothing that would jeopardize their ability to receive government benefits.

I hope this helps.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is very likely that all of your mother's assets will go to her 2 sisters and not to any children or grandchildren.  In Florida, bank accounts are presumed to be owned by the people listed on the accounts.  If your mother's 2 sisters are listed on the account, especially as "owners," then the accounts belong to them.  They can take everything now and, if your mother passes away, everything belongs to them.

I don't know what you mean by "will or legacy document."  Like all states, Florida has strict standards for how to prepare a will.  If the will does not meet these standards, it is not effective.  Florida does not recognize a "legacy document."  However, even if your mother has an effective will, the bank account will automatically go to the "owners" and the will cannot change that.

$100,000 is enough money to justify consulting a lawyer.  I suggest your mother consult a life or estate planning lawyer to understand how to transfer her assets and make sure the transfer occurs according to her wishes.  Choosing an elder law attorney for this consultation is also a good idea just in case your mother or her sisters need a nursing home in the future.  You want to do nothing that would jeopardize their ability to receive government benefits.

I hope this helps.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is very likely that all of your mother's assets will go to her 2 sisters and not to any children or grandchildren.  In Florida, bank accounts are presumed to be owned by the people listed on the accounts.  If your mother's 2 sisters are listed on the account, especially as "owners," then the accounts belong to them.  They can take everything now and, if your mother passes away, everything belongs to them.

I don't know what you mean by "will or legacy document."  Like all states, Florida has strict standards for how to prepare a will.  If the will does not meet these standards, it is not effective.  Florida does not recognize a "legacy document."  However, even if your mother has an effective will, the bank account will automatically go to the "owners" and the will cannot change that.

$100,000 is enough money to justify consulting a lawyer.  I suggest your mother consult a life or estate planning lawyer to understand how to transfer her assets and make sure the transfer occurs according to her wishes.  Choosing an elder law attorney for this consultation is also a good idea just in case your mother or her sisters need a nursing home in the future.  You want to do nothing that would jeopardize their ability to receive government benefits.

I hope this helps.


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