What is Probate in Florida?
What you can do to plan for the future and protect the best interest of both you and your loved ones
Many people are vaguely familiar with the term probate but don’t really have a full understanding of exactly what the process entails. It is extremely important to take the time to learn about the probate process and determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances. Unfortunately, failing to take proactive steps to explore your options and make informed decisions can leave families conflicted and at odds over how to handle your estate.
One of the most important concepts to understand is the probate process. Probate is the formal process by which a decedent’s estate is distributed upon death. The steps you take now to determine your wishes and develop a solid legal strategy dictate how easy or complicated the probate process is. Many people mistakenly assume that estate planning is reserved for only those who are wealthy or have extensive assets to their name. However, proper estate planning is a vital tool for anyone regardless of the extent of their estate.
Actions to avoid and how to prevent contentious and costly probate battles
The most important step in estate planning to ensure that the probate process is seamless is to execute and valid, comprehensive will. Vague wills that leave room for interpretation are destined to lead to conflict when it’s time to distribute your assets. In addition to ensuring that you have a complete will, you must choose a personal representative, sometimes referred to as an executor, to oversee the probate process. This is a significant decision that requires a great deal of thought and contemplation. You should choose someone that you trust implicitly to adhere to the provisions of your will and not get caught up in emotional disputes with your beneficiaries.
In some cases, you may be able to structure your estate so that the probate process is avoided, in part or entirely. The probate process applies to assets that are solely in the decedent’s name, so called probate assets. However, you may be able to avoid probate by establishing a revocable trust or transferring assets you no longer need to your beneficiary. In any case, it is still important to have a valid will in place to direct those probate assets that may still need distribution after your death.
Regardless of the size of your estate, you need to thoroughly evaluate your options and develop a reliable legal strategy to ensure your wishes are carried out as you desire. At Kitroser & Associates, our experienced North Palm Beach probate attorneys provide the legal resources and personalized representation you need to make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 561-721-0600 or contact us online.