Did you know that Florida has one of the worst Probate systems in our country? Not only will a percentage of your assets diminish during the process but your loved ones could have to wait well over a year before receiving anything. This is why it is important to understand the process and plan accordingly.
Probate is the legal process of proving a Will in court. Unless you own assets jointly (which will pass by operation of law) or have a Will substitute in place (such as a Revocable Living Trust) all of your assets must go through the Probate process. The type of probate administration that will be required will be determined by the size of your estate. An estate that is worth less than $75,000 would require a Summary Administration. This type of administration is less costly to your family but could still take up to a year to complete. If your estate exceeds $75,000 in assets, then a full probate administration will be necessary. A full administration could very well last for over a year and can be very costly. Your family may be faced with extreme financial burden and stress during a time where they should be focused on healing.
Probate offers no real benefit to the family members that are left behind. Instead, it can cause a great deal of stress which is why you should consider avoiding it all together. Probate avoidance can be accomplished in a number of ways. As previously mentioned, any assets that pass by operation of law will not be subjected to probate. This would include property held as husband and wife, property held as joint owners with the right of survivorship, accounts that are held jointly and so on. One of the more popular ways to avoid probate is through the creation of a Revocable Living Trust. All assets held in trust will avoid probate and pass directly to the listed beneficiaries. A trust has additional benefits too, such as setting limitations on when your beneficiaries will receive their share. It allows for you to have control from beyond the grave, avoid probate and could save you on estate taxes.
Be proactive and eliminate the possibility of probate from your future. Call the office of Wild, Felice & Partners today for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855.
For more information on Probate, Estate Planning, and Asset Protection, visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
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