Does IRA money without a named beneficiary have to go through probate?

Iddawg asked...

I reside in Florida. Mom passed on December 3, 2010. Mom had a IRA that is less than $30,000. The account is not POD neither and I am not named as beneficiary on the account. I am the executor of her estate. Will the account have to go through probate for the funds to be released. Thanking you ahead in this matter, iddawg

Expert Answer

Unfortunately, I believe your mother's IRA account will have to go through probate in Florida. You state that your mom's IRAS, of less than $30,000, did not name a beneficiary. You also state that your are executor of her estate. Does this mean that your mother left a will, and named you as executor in that will? This is the normal way a person becomes an executor. The other way is in what's called an "intestate" probate court proceeding. "Intestate" means dying without a will.

The fact that you are the executor of your mother's estate does not necessarily mean that you are the inheritor, and sole inheritor, of the IRA account. If your mother left a will, the inheritor is whoever she left her property to in that will. If your mother did not leave a will, the inheritor is defined by Florida law.

Florida law permits summary probate"”less complex and costly than regular probate"”if: 1) There's a will; 2) the total net value of the probate estate is less than $75,000. Whether you can use summary probate depends on whether your mom left other property subject to probate, and if she did, how much that other property is worth.