DO SPOUSES AUTOMATICALLY INHERIT? DO SPOUSES HAVE TO GO TO PROBATE COURT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY OR BROWARD COUNTY?
I received a call from Mark. He said his husband had passed away yet had not joined the bank accounts, nor named a paid-on-death beneficiary. Thus, he needed to go through probate. He assumed that since he was legally married and he was covered and could walk into the bank with the death certificate and get the money. Sadly, this is not the case. A legal spouse must still go through probate court, hire a probate attorney, publish the notice to creditors if the person died less than two years ago, and leave all decisions for the court to determine.
WHAT IF THERE IS A WILL STATING THE LEGAL SPOUSE GETS EVERYTHING?
Using our example above, even if there is a will stating the husband gets everything, a probate attorney must be hired and the will must be presented to the court for approval. Once approved, the will may be used by the probate court as a map to determine the beneficiaries. If there is no will, the intestacy statutes determine the beneficiaries.
IF THERE IS NO WILL, DO THE INTESTACY STATUTES PROVIDE FOR THE SURIVING SPOUSE?
The simple answer is yes, but there are situations which may lessen their amount of inheritance. For example, if the deceased spouse has kids from a prior marriage or relationship, they may share the assets with the surviving spouse.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY SPOUSE FROM HAVING TO GO THROUGH PROBATE?
There are a few ways to protect your spouse and loved ones. In the case above, a paid-on-death beneficiary may be provided in writing to the bank. A joint bank account with the words Tenancy By The Entirety (if married) and Joint Tenants With Rights of Survivorship if not married may protect your spouse or loved ones. The best way to protect your spouse or loved ones is to create a revocable trust for each spouse and fund each trust with the separate assets. If created and funded properly, a revocable trust can avoid probate court and keep financial matters private among the spouses or loved ones.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY M. GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR WILLS AND TRUSTS, ESTATE PLANNING IN MIAMI BEACH AND MIAMI-DADE AND BROWARD PROBATE MATTERS?
As a Miami Beach Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts and Probate Attorney in Miami Beach with over twenty-four years of experience and both a Psychology and Law degree, I handle these matters with care and sensitivity. I am familiar and comfortable with both the Broward County and Miami-Dade probate court system and know how to get things done. Call or email me today to discuss your Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts and Broward or Miami-Dade County Probate matters. I am happy to help you and your loved ones.