Are you creating your first estate plan? Are you reviewing a plan you created many years ago? Are you dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s passing? It doesn’t matter what situation you are in, if you answered yes to one of these questions you are sure to have many challenges standing in your way. However, it’s good to know that you can overcome anything you are faced with. At some point, you have no choice but to learn more about probate. If you are creating an estate plan, you want to know what you can do to help your loved ones avoid probate. And if a family member has passed, you may find yourself going through this process in the near future.
What is Probate?
Before you can fully understand probate, you need to get a better idea of what it entails. Here is how the American Bar Association defines probate: “Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.” As you can see, this is something that you need to think about as you are creating an estate plan. And it’s also something that may come into play if you are dealing with the estate of a loved one after his or her passing.
Note: the probate process varies from state to state, so you need to become familiar with the laws as they pertain to your particular region. If you believe all probate laws to be the same, you could make mistakes that work against you and/or your family.
What are the Reasons to Avoid Probate?
Creating an estate plan is a big deal. This is something that will impact you while you are living. And of course, it will impact your family once you have passed on. At some point, you may want to think about strategies to avoid probate. This doesn’t do anything for you, since you are not here to see what happens, but it will have a big impact on your family. Some of the primary reasons to avoid probate include:
- The process can be time consuming, often dragging on for many months.
- The process can cost a lot of money, taking a big chunk out of what you have left behind.
- The process is something your family may not be ready to take on after your death.
Considering these details, it’s easy to see why so many people are looking for a way to avoid probate. Or, at the very least, they are seeking ways to lessen the number of assets that go through probate upon their death.
Rely on these Probate Resources
If you want to learn more about the Florida probate process, the best thing you can do is consult with an attorney. A legal professional can answer your questions and ensure that you don’t leave any stone unturned.
However, there are many resources you can turn to on your own time to learn more. Here are some of the best:
- The Florida Bar. This is one of the most comprehensive guides on probate in Florida, providing information on everything from the process itself to how long it takes.
- Florida Courts. Another official source, when you visit this website you’ll find yourself learning more about the probate process from the view of the court system. If you’re wondering how the process unfolds, this is one place to look for information.
- Duval County Clerk of Courts. If you live in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, you probably make your home in Duval County. This online resource provides probate information as it pertains to Duval County, including: general information, forms, and fees.
These are just a few of the many probate resources that can help you better understand the process. Coming from both the state of Florida and Duval County, you can be rest assured that all of the information is accurate and detailed.
Get Help from an Experienced Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today
The more you learn about Florida probate, the more questions you will have. If you’re hoping to make the best possible decisions, don’t delay in contacting a legal professional. At our law firm, we are available to answer your questions, provide probate guidance, and help you plan for the future. We can be reached online or via phone by calling (904) 215-3550. We know that you have many questions. We also know that you may be facing some challenges. Regardless, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your personal situation.