A person leaves behind many types of assets upon his or her death, but not all of them are subject to a court process called “probate” under Florida law. Certain types of property are not included in the decedent’s estate because of the details of ownership, or because they pass to someone else by operation of law. A Coral Springs probate attorney can tell you more about how these assets are treated under two primary categories: Probate and Non-Probate.

Probate Assets: Any real or personal property that the decedent owned individually upon passing, in his or her own name, would qualify as a probate asset. Tangible items like automobiles, jewelry, household items, furniture, and clothing would be included. In addition, intangible assets like bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, and interests in a business would also qualify as probate assets.

Non-Probate Assets: Property that was not exclusively owned by the decedent, such as jointly owned bank accounts and real estate, may fall under non-probate assets. This is because most jointly held items include a survivorship cause: The asset goes to the surviving owner in the event of another owner’s death.

Also, the decedent may have owned a type of bank account or insurance policy that includes a beneficiary designation, which is another non-probate asset. A “pay on death” account  or “transfer on death” account automatically passes to the designated individual upon the death of the decedent by operation of law. Another example of a non-probate asset would be any property owned by a living trust. Because this property is titled in the name of the trust, the decedent technically does not own it.

These are the general rules for handling probate and non-probate assets after someone passes in Florida, but an attorney can help you understand how they apply for your specific circumstances. Coral Springs probate lawyer Richard S. Pillinger has extensive experience in handling probate cases on behalf of beneficiaries, heirs, and personal representatives, so please contact our office at (954) 755-5199 for more information.