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Does your bank account go through probate?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Probate And Estate Law

Probate is the process of distributing someone’s assets after they pass away. The probate court will verify the will of the deceased individual, before overseeing the distribution of their assets. These assets can include a number of items, including bank accounts.

Florida residents should understand that after death, their bank account will likely go through probate. It is one of the financial assets that you own, and your estate plan should mention how it is to be divided between your beneficiaries. However, there are some ways that you can keep the account out of probate if you’d like.

Using a payable-on-death account

One example is to convert your bank account into a payable-on-death account, or a POD account. If you do this, then the bank itself lets you name a beneficiary and make an official designation. When you pass away, this beneficiary simply has to show evidence of your death and they can then take over control of the account.

There are some benefits to doing this, including the fact that the beneficiary can obtain control much quicker than they would through probate. Additionally, because the account doesn’t have to go through probate, other beneficiaries cannot challenge it. This can make the whole estate distribution process go a bit more smoothly because it reduces the odds of a dispute.

Adding a joint owner to the account

Alternatively, you could add a joint owner to your bank account. Most often a spouse, the joint owner would have access to the account immediately. After your death, there would be no need for the bank account to go through probate, as the joint owner will simply then become the sole owner of the account.

Your estate planning tools

As you start to construct your estate plan, it is important to know about the variety of tools you can use and what they accomplish. The more you understand about the legal options at your disposal, the better you can create a plan that works well for your family.