Skip to Content

What Assets are Exempt from Probate in Florida?

March 21, 2022 CSBB Blog

Probate is the legal term for a court-directed process during which a will is reviewed by the court for validity and authenticity. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will.

When a person who had assets dies, the court appoints a personal representative to administer the process of probate, including collecting the assets of the deceased person, paying any liabilities remaining on the person’s estate, and distributing the assets of the estate to beneficiaries. 

Probate and estate issues, including taxes, are complex and interrelated. You can work with an experienced Florida and Palm Beach County probate attorney at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun to help you navigate the Florida probate process.

Why Would I Want to Exempt Assets?

Under the Florida Probate Code, there are a few particular legal mechanisms designed to protect the family of the deceased person, specifically the surviving spouse and children. Two such safeguards that affect the administration of an estate are (1) exempt property, and (2) family allowance. 

The Exempt Property and Family Allowance statutes are designed to provide immediate relief for surviving family members during the period of administration of the estate rather than waiting for the creditor claims period to expire. 

Exempt property that does not have to go through probate can be transferred to the people who inherit it much quicker and places the property out of the reach of the list of assets that must be probated, which may go to creditors.

The Family Allowance is money out of the estate for the surviving spouse and the decedent’s lineal heirs to support them during the administration period.

What Assets are Exempt?

Section 732.402 of the Florida Probate Code lists the property that falls within the umbrella of “exempt property,” and includes:

  • Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual place of abode up to a net value of $20,000 as of the date of death;
  • Two motor vehicles …which do not, individually as to either such motor vehicle, have a gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds, held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent or members of the decedent’s immediate family as their personal motor vehicles;
  • All qualified tuition programs authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • All death benefits for teachers and school administrators as contemplated by Section 112.1915 of the Florida Statutes.

Probate Questions? We are Here to Help

Exempting property from probate has several advantages over moving assets through probate but the process can be complicated. An experienced Florida and Palm Beach County probate lawyer at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun can help you be sure that every asset that qualifies for exemption is exempted, and help you be sure the transfer is smooth and issue-free.

At Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun, we understand how to maximize your exemptions. We are also experienced with the laws involved in related areas of Florida law, such as asset protection planning, estate planning, estate litigation, tax planning, guardianship, mediation, and business entities and transactions. Contact us today.

Over 100 Awards & Recognitions