When an individual dies in the U.S., by law a new entity comes into existence – that individual’s estate.  If the assets of the estate are not large enough to require a Federal Estate Tax Return ($5mill) and do not involve a title document, they are commonly distributed among the heirs or beneficiaries (if there is a will) and that is that, unless of course, someone objects.   However, if this is how the distribution takes place, the recipient of any property may be liable to the creditors of the deceased, who are now the creditors of the estate, and who may include the Internal Revenue Service.



If title is an issue (real property, motor vehicles, bank and stock accounts, etc.) as there is no one to sign a transfer document, the transfer of the asset is handled by the Personal Representative of the Estate (“Executor”) who is appointed by the Court as part of the probate process.



If title is an issue, but the value of all of the non-exempt assets (homestead and retirement accounts, etc. are exempt) does not exceed $75K, the probate process can be handled in a simple procedure whereby all of the assets and to whom they are distributed, are listed on an Order for Summary Administration, signed by the Judge, which Order acts as a title transfer document and no Personal Representative or lengthy expensive Probate process is required.



If the date of death was not at least two years prior to the date that the transfer of assets becomes an issue to be dealt with, creditors of the deceased must be notified and satisfied before a distribution of those assets free and clear of liens and encumbrances, may be made.   Timing is important.



Florida has no Inheritance Tax and no tax is assessed to the estate or the recipients of estate property. (If the value of the Estate is $5M a federal estate tax will be due and Florida will take a portion of that). The probate process, however, has costs associated with it (filing fees) and attorney fees, which will usually run several thousand dollars.  Summary Administration is of course less expensive.

If you have questions relating to an Estate or the property of a deceased person; or you have not adequately prepared for the ultimate eventuality that an estate will come into existence when we depart this life, contact my office and lets discuss it together.

MHH  (954) 998 - 3354


Michael H. Hirsch, P.A.

Attorney At Law - Serving the People of Florida since 1989

Micheal H Hirsch P.A. Attorney At Law

Copyright © 1989 - 2015

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