Tallahassee, FL asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Florida

Q: Can a quick claim deed be done if I want to "sell" a house instead of going into probate?

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4 Lawyer Answers

Lauren Nagel Richardson

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Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you are a homeowner and you want to avoid probate of your estate when you die, there are several estate planning techniques you may want to discuss with an estate planning attorney. One option is to create a revocable trust and fund the trust with your real estate. Another option is to execute an enhanced life estate deed where you retain your home for your lifetime with the power to sell, lease, mortgage, or revoke the deed, but if you do not revoke it, then the property passes to the remainder beneficiary named on the deed without going through probate. For either of these techniques, you should work with an estate planning attorney near you. If you are located in the Gainesville area, you are welcome to give our office a call.

Under no circumstances however should you sign a quitclaim deed and give away your property to avoid probate. Even if you don't live in your home and need nursing care at a nursing home someday that is paid for by Medicaid, your homestead is exempt and can be preserved to pass to your heirs when you die. If you give your home away, it can create a penalty period during which you cannot qualify for Medicaid even if you needed it to pay for a nursing home. This is called Medicaid planning. Some estate planning attorneys also handle Medicaid planning.

Because of all of these issues related to estate planning and Medicaid planning, you definitely need to consult with an attorney before signing anything.

Gregory John Nussbickel agrees with this answer

Gregory John Nussbickel

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Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I agree with the advice already given. However, if the title owner of the property has already died, the options are more limited. A probate will be required unless there is another co-owner on the existing title (i.e deed) who has survivorship rights. For example: two spouses jointly own property and one dies - the survivor generally takes full title by operation of law (no probate required). Other examples include: joint tenancy with right of survivorship and life estates. By contrast, if the decedent is the sole title owner, a probate will likely be needed.

David M. Goldman

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Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If the owner is alive, they can transfer the property with a deed. This may disqualify you from long-term care benefits if done within 5 years of a need. It might be a better solution to use a trust or enhanced life estate deed. This is something you should discuss with an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with elder law.

David M. Goldman

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Yes, but it may be a bad idea and cause all types of problems for the new owner as well as disqualify you from benefits for 5 years or more if you need care.

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