By Attorney Wyon F. Wiegratz
As a licensed attorney in both Florida (FL) and Wisconsin (WI), I am often asked to help other attorneys and help our snowbird clients with how they should hold FL real estate. This often involves retitling property, especially when those individuals want to avoid the expenses and delays of going through probate in Florida if they want to keep their property titled just in their own name.
This typically involves preparing a new deed for them, placing title in their joint names, or in the case of couples in Florida this is called tenancy by the entirety. In this way the survivor inherits immediately. For others, it means titling property in the name of the trustees of a trust which becomes irrevocable on their death. Also, this can mean making the property transferable to a family member at death by what is called a Lady Bird deed, similar to a WI transfer on death deed. FL also allows life estate and remainder deeds to guarantee the automatic transfer at death.
Unfortunately, FL has no standard deed form, but state statute prescribes what is necessary for a valid deed. Execution of a deed is more formal in FL, where it can’t be merely by authentication by an attorney, but rather needs two witnesses and a notary to have a valid recordable deed. Recording a deed involves the cost of recording fees, indexing fees and a document stamp fee. If property is to be held in trust, the trust must first identify the trustees to hold title. If the property is to be an individual’s homestead in FL, then special attention has to be paid to how homestead real estate held and disposed of by the trust.
In conclusion, if you plan to transfer FL real estate, it is important that you speak with a licensed FL attorney so that it is done properly.
Disclaimer: The above content is intended to provide general information regarding the subject matter covered. The provision of this information is not intended by the author as legal advice. If you need or desire legal advice, you should consult an attorney for advice specific to your situation. Further, laws change over time so the information should be verified before relying on it.