Many people think estate planning consists of just creating a will that basically allows a person to designate how their assets will be distributed after death, thereby avoiding the probate process, unfortunately this is a common misconception.
The truth is that in the State of Florida, probate is required whether or not you have a will.
A will is a legal document that, among other things, allows you to name the parties to whom you wish to distribute your assets after your death. In most cases, the will names a personal representative who will oversee the estate until the terms of the will are fulfilled and all other legal requirements for settling the estate are met.
However, in Florida, creating a will does not exempt anyone from going through the probate process, it will ease the process because property will generally be distributed according to your wishes.
The probate process is overseen by the court and consists of several important factors:
- Identifying all the deceased person’s assets.
- Identifying the decedent’s beneficiaries and creditors.
- Allocate the distribution of assets accordingly.
It seems like a simple process, but it’s far from it. Unfortunately, most people face this process while they are grieving over the loss of a loved one. It can be a very challenging experience in which emotions, worry, stress, and the legal process become intertwined.
That is why hiring a probate attorney in Florida is critical and can be very helpful for families. Having an experienced attorney guide you through the process will allow you to rely on their knowledge and expertise to ensure the process flows smoothly.
For example, a probate attorney will likely inform you that the process can be managed even if the heirs live out of state. Unlike other legal processes, when probate is involved, the surviving family is not required to be physically present when dealing with the probate process in Florida. If you hire a Florida probate attorney, they will manage it locally while keeping the personal representative informed of all developments.
The attorney will also let you know which documents are needed to file a will in Florida, thus preventing you from duplicating efforts or dealing with document errors.
While it is true that some assets do not require a will, others do, and if the heirs are not made aware, they may encounter a few surprises.
It’s critical to make arrangements for your estate in advance. It helps prevent your family from dealing with the stress and potential expenses later on. Remember, the probate process itself is not as difficult as dealing with the loss of a loved one. Hiring a probate attorney can help you deal with this difficult process, allowing you the time you need to grieve over your loss.