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What Is Exempt Property, and How Is It Relevant to Florida Probate?

When a person passes away, there may be various claims on the estate. These claims typically come from creditors who will try to collect as much of the debt owed to them as possible. In most cases, they can successfully recover all or most of the debt by making a claim on the decedent’s assets or property during the probate process.

There are some notable exemptions to this rule, as outlined in Florida Statute 732.402. The most common items exempted under the law include the following:

  • Up to two motor vehicles with a gross weight under 15,000 pounds, were titled to the decedent and were commonly used by immediate family members as their personal vehicles
  • Any furniture or appliances in the household of the decedent, up to $20,000 in net value as of the date of death
  • Some qualified tuition program deposits, including those in the Florida Prepaid College Trust Fund
  • Some rare cases in which death benefits are paid out to the estates of administrators or teachers killed while on the job

The statute includes a comprehensive list of all the assets and property exempted from claims in Florida.

What does “exempt” mean?

Property and assets that are exempt are those that beneficiaries of the decedent can inherit without worrying about claims being made against them during probate.

If you are moving through the estate administration process and wish to designate certain property as exempt, you must file a petition in court no later than four months after the notice of estate administration is published. If you do not act within that time, the assets and property in question could still be subject to claims, even if they would otherwise be exempt.

In many cases, failing to get property exempted could have a significant impact on the amount of assets and property the beneficiaries of a deceased individual will receive from an estate. This is why it’s so important to consult an estate planning attorney to make sure you petition to exempt as much as possible before the clock runs out.

To learn more about exempt assets and how they could affect the probate process, work with a skilled attorney at the Law Office of Nancy J. Oset. Call the firm today at 727-326-1618 or contact me online to schedule an appointment at my Palm Harbor office.

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