What to do when a loved one dies, Part 2

Last time we looked at some of the steps to take when a loved one dies, gathering information and documents.
Now, we look at what you do with those documents to determine if a probate is needed.
As I explain here:
Do I need to bring a probate?
There are three ways that property can pass at death; and only one of those ways is probate.
What you need to do is determine what asset there are; look at bank accounts, CD’s, retirement accounts, insurance policies, any investment accounts, deeds, and any other assets that might be involved and contact the company who is administering the assets; the bank in the case of bank accounts and CD’s; the insurance company or agent in the case of life insurance; the broker or agent in the case of any sort of stock or investment, and provide copies of the death certificate to them.  They will probably ask for certified copies; provide them with those copies. They will tell you whether anyone was a joint owner or a Pay on Death or Transfer on Death beneficiary. If not, then that asset probably needs to be probated.
Frequently, what happens is that all property passes outside of probate, particularly in the case of a married couple; most married couples own all of their property as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship” but this is going to depend on what was set up during their lifetime.

If  you have questions about specific property, particularly whether real estate, needs to be probated, contact an attorney in Florida.  If you are in or near The Villages, Florida and have a husband, wife, mother, or father who died, feel free to contact my office.


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