Many estates have to go through Probate in order to be settled, while with the help of an experienced Florida probate attorney, some trusts, and proper planning–you can help your family avoid the hassle of dealing with Probate all together.
What is Probate?
Many people may want to learn more about Probate. To sum it up, Probate is the legal process that transfers property from the Probate Estate to the specified heirs of the decedent. Probate can be a very complicated process, involving extensive paperwork and appearances by attorneys who represent the parties involved. Court fees and attorney fees are paid from the estate property (from funds which could otherwise go to the beneficiaries of the decedent).
Probate can also be an extensive process and very time consuming. It can involve proving in a court of law that the deceased individual’s Will is valid. A complete inventory of the decedent’s property may also be done, and that property may require appraisal. Probate can involve paying any debts and taxes that are owed by the deceased individual. The remaining property is then distributed as directed by the Will. If the deceased person died without a Will, the estate must be settled through Probate as well. The remaining assets are then distributed as state law allows.
Probate Can Be Avoided
Since Probate can be avoided, it is wise to appropriately plan ahead and complete effective Estate Planning. By avoiding Probate, more money and assets go to the beneficiaries rather than the court or to legal expenses.
In Florida, there are several ways to avoid the Probate process.
- Probate can be avoided by setting up a Living Trust to hold all of your assets, such as bank accounts, real estate and other valuable property.
- Another option to avoid Probate could be joint ownership, which involves owning property with someone else and including the right of survivorship, which transfers the property completely to the surviving owner. Some paperwork will be required, but Probate is easily avoided with the help of a reliable and experienced Elder Law or Estate Planning attorney. Also, remember that there are two kinds of joint ownership, joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety.
- Other options for avoiding probate in the proper planning of your estate include payable on death designations for bank accounts and transfer on death registration for securities, which enable you to control your accounts as long as you live. The assets are then transferred to the beneficiaries at the time of your death without the need for Probate court proceedings.
Plan ahead and save your family time, stress and money. Schedule a free consultation with Heidi Webb to discuss Probate avoidance. She can walk you through your best Estate Planning options and help you make the best choices for your estate and your family’s future. Plan ahead and talk with an attorney in Daytona Beach to help you through the process. Contact Attorney Heidi S. Webb at 386-257-3332.