Does your estate plan need a survivorship deed?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is critical to make sure your assets go where you intend upon your death. One part of estate planning you might need to consider is a survivorship deed, especially if you own property in Florida.

What is a survivorship deed?

A survivorship deed, also known as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, lets two or more people own property together. When one owner dies, the property automatically goes to the surviving owner(s) without going through probate. This type of deed works well for married couples, but other co-owners, like siblings or business partners, can also use it.

How does a survivorship deed work in Florida?

In Florida, a survivorship deed must meet certain requirements to remain valid. These include joint ownership, a precise legal description of the property, signatures from all co-owners in the presence of a notary public, and recording with the county clerk’s office where the property is located. Once you meet these requirements, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner(s) when one owner dies, avoiding the probate process.

Benefits and considerations of a survivorship deed

Using a survivorship deed in your estate plan offers several benefits:

  • Avoidance of probate: The property doesn’t go through probate, which can be long and expensive.
  • Simplicity: The transfer of ownership is simple and automatic, making it easier for surviving family members.
  • Protection from creditors: In some cases, a survivorship deed can protect the property from the creditors of the deceased owner.

However, all owners have equal rights to the property, so one owner cannot sell or mortgage the property without the consent of the others. The transfer of property may also come with tax consequences.

Is a survivorship deed right for your estate plan?

While survivorship deeds offer many benefits, you should weigh these against potential drawbacks. Consult an estate planning attorney in Florida to help you make an informed decision and ensure your estate plan meets your needs.