Spending time in probate courts when delegating an estate is an exhausting prospect. Most people do not know the ins-and-outs of the Martin County probate court system. Fortunately, there are attorneys that do. Even more so, there are ways for people who do not wish to go through probate to outright avoid it. In doing so, people can save themselves time and stress. While there are disadvantages to avoiding probate, an attorney can see to it that you make the choice that best suits your needs and, if decided upon, can help you understand how to avoid probate in Palm City.
Probate avoidance means structuring assets and planning in a way so that nothing is required to pass through probate administration upon death.
However, in doing so, assets owned solely in the decedent’s name that are not probated will not be available to any family members or loved ones until the probate process is completed. If probate is necessary but is never commenced, assets could end up escheating to the state.
Many probate lawyers also help clients with estate planning. A qualified estate planning lawyer can advise a client on the best ways to structure assets to minimize or avoid probate consequences.
Besides potentially not being able to access assets owned by the decedent, another disadvantage of avoiding probate pertains to creditors. When any person dies, there is always the possibility of outstanding debts that must be paid. Most commonly, these debts are medical bills or outstanding credit card bills. Under Florida law, creditors have an opportunity to file a claim up until 2 years from the date of the decedent’s death. The probate process can shorten that window, however, to a period of 3 months once a Notice to Creditors has been published. The advantage to the decedent’s estate and loved ones is that the fiduciaries, personal representative of the estate and the trustee if the decedent had a living trust, can wait a much shorter period of time before commencing distributions to beneficiaries without fear of personal liability if a creditor claim surfaces.
The advantages to avoiding probate are savings of time, money, and avoidance of certain disclosures that are public in nature.
A living trust is a revocable type of trust created by a person during life which may be amended or revoked at any time.
Assets held inside of a living trust at death are not required to pass through probate.
When a close friend or loved one leaves behind an estate, there are legal requirements that must be fulfilled if any beneficiaries or heirs wish to receive their portion of the delegated estate. In most cases, this requires going through the probate process. However, this process may not apply to all estates. In fact, there are ways to avoid probate altogether. Personal representatives or interested parties need to speak with an attorney if they wish to learn how to avoid probate in Palm City. Contact an attorney today.