Protecting your Assets from Creditors and Avoiding Probate

Having estate planning documents helps you legally determine how your assets would be divided after your death according to your wishes. Doing an estate plan will help to save your family from hassle or difficulties with respect to your assets after your death. The assets you own will be transferred over to the beneficiaries that you designate in your estate plan, and it will be dealt with as per your wishes.

Estate planning in Florida involves the drafting of some key documents. They include a last will and testament, living will, durable power of attorney, and a designation for of healthcare surrogate. It also involves the creation of a trust and planning of your business successions if applicable.

A key aspect of estate planning is protecting your assets from creditors and avoiding probate. In this article we will explain how you can do them by using Florida’s laws.

Protecting your Assets from Creditors

Florida’s Constitution, statutes and common law all protect your assets from creditors. Florida’s Constitution under Article X, Section 4 has provided for homestead protection. By the application of this rule a judgment creditor cannot forcefully make you sell your house to satisfy the money judgment of the creditor. This is the Florida’s homestead protection law. It does not include only single-family houses but also condominiums, manufactured homes, and mobile homes. The most important aspect of homestead protection is that it will continue even after you die. Thus, Florida’s homestead protection can be used by you to protect your assets.

In Florida, your wages are protected from wage garnishments if you are head of the household. These exemptions to wage garnishments are provided under Section 222.11 of the Florida statutes. However, you must note that these protections against wage garnishments are not applicable on any federal government agencies.

Some of the other assets that are protected under Florida law include annuities, life insurance, retirement accounts, disability income, interest in a multi-member LLC, prepaid collect plans, and social security.

The most important asset protection law in Florida is the homestead exemption. It is one of strongest asset protection laws in the country and it ensures that you will not lose your house to creditors even under difficult circumstances.

Avoiding Probate

If you plan out your succession properly with good estate planning, then probate can be avoided, and your family will receive your assets with ease.

Creating a revocable living trust is one of the most straightforward ways of avoiding probate. It is simple in that the assets that are the part of the trust will not be probated. To go forward with creating a revocable living trust you will need to fund the trust and title assets in the name of the trust.

Another way of avoiding probate in Florida is to name beneficiaries to some your assets. These assets include your bank accounts and your non-retirement investment accounts. After you designate these accounts in the name of your beneficiaries, these accounts will transfer to them without any probate after your death.

Joint ownership of properties will also help to avoid probate. If there is a co-ownership of property by you as part of a “husband and wife”, or tenants by entireties, or tenants with rights of survivorship then the property will pass on to the surviving member after your death.

Please contact us to take advantage of creating an estate plan and give you peace of mind!

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C. Alvarez Law

C. Alvarez Law is a Central Florida-based law firm that helps families find resolutions to their most complex family law issues. We are dedicated to providing the support and advice you need for a positive outcome and a better life. Before you can move on with your life, you need closure. Our firm is diverse, energetic, and passionate about delivering this for the clients who have placed their trust in us. Let’s work together today to find a better tomorrow.

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