Florida State Probate Law Regarding Spousal Tenancy

Florida statutes have provisions for husbands and wives regarding the passing of title to the surviving spouse after death. In some cases, the deed does not note that the two were, in fact, husband and wife when they took the deed for the real property.

In the article below highlights how Florida state probate  is not needed in this situation.

Does a deed need to identify the owners as husband and wife in order to create a tenancy by the entirety, which would automatically pass title if one spouse dies?

No, according to two Florida court decisions addressing this question, the deed does not have to identify the owners as spouses provided that the owners are in fact husband and wife when they take title and stay continuously married until one dies. These facts will create a tenancy by the entirety unless the deed indicates otherwise (such as a deed expressly stating, "tenants in common"). Fund Note 20.01.15 from Attorneys' Title Insurance Fund, Inc., citing American Central Ins. Co. of St. Louis, Mo. v. Whitlock, 186 So. 380 (Fla. 1936) and Espenship v. Carter, 514 So. 2d 1108 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987), concludes that omission of the description "husband and wife" can be overcome by an affidavit of marital status where the two persons were in fact married.

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At Statewide Probate, a division of McDonald Fleming Moorhead, we offer a free consultation for Florida state probate administration cases. Our law firm welcomes estates throughout the state, including Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami, Sarasota, Daytona Beach, Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Contact our Florida probate administration attorneys for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable staff can handle the legal aspects of your estate administration.