Probate property includes many types of real and personal property that you owned individually. For example, if you owned a house in fee simple, your house would pass to your surviving heirs pursuant to the Florida intestacy laws. However, if you owned a house jointly with a co-tenant, she may have a right to own the entire asset when you die if she had a right to survivorship.
Probate property does not usually include life insurance policies, annuities and retirement accounts. Some types of bank accounts are not probate assets. Under Florida law, these assets are not probate property since the account owners named beneficiaries and alternate beneficiaries directly in their policies. Probate property does not include life estates, since a life estate reverts to the owner after the life tenant passes away. As a life tenant, you cannot bequeath your life estate.
Under Florida law, you have a right to disinherit anyone except your surviving minor or incapacitated adult children and your spouse. You can disinherit anyone without leaving your disinherited beneficiaries nominal gifts or gifts of $1. If you had additional children after you drafted your will, Florida law presumes you unintentionally omitted them from your will and may provide them with elective shares. Furthermore, your spouse and children may petition your estate for a family allowance before your personal representative distributes your probate assets to your beneficiaries. Generally, a surviving spouse has a right to a forced share of the decedent’s assets, including non-probate assets. Thus, in most cases, you cannot totally disinherit your spouse, and your spouse can elect her share provided under your will or elect the forced 30 percent share of your probate assets.