Four Ways To Provide For Loved Ones While Avoiding Probate In Tampa
A will is one of the most basic and important estate planning documents in Tampa. However, even with one in place, your loved ones will still have to go through probate, which can be a confusing and time-consuming process. Our experienced Tampa estate planning attorney explains four ways to avoid these proceedings.
Steps To Protect Loved Ones And Avoid Probate
Probate is the process of closing the estate of someone who is deceased. It provides a thorough listing of all property and assets, settles any outstanding debts, designates beneficiaries, makes distributions, and ensures final taxes are filed.
Probate is required under the Florida Statutes. Your will serves as a guide through these proceedings, coveys your final wishes, and helps to prevent disputes and delays that could tie up distributions indefinitely. However, even with a will, your loved ones may have to wait long months before receiving any of the property or assets you want them to have. This can create problems, not the least of which is financial insecurity.
Fortunately, there are four common estate planning tactics that can help you avoid the process and allow distributions while Hillsborough County Probate Court proceedings are still pending:
- Create a living trust.
A living trust allows you to transfer assets to a third party, or trustee, during your lifetime while continuing to use and have access to them. Creating a living trust provides numerous benefits in terms of Medicaid planning and making detailed distributions among heirs. It also allows you to avoid probate.
- Title property with rights to survivorship.
For many people, their home is their most vulnerable asset. If you want to leave it to your spouse or other loved ones while avoiding potentially complex probate court proceedings, consider titling it as a Joint Tenancy with Rights Of Survivorship (JTROS). This allows the legal title to the property to pass directly to the person you select in the event of your death.
- Designate bank accounts as payable on death.
This is one of the simplest tactics to ensure that loved ones are provided for financially in the immediate aftermath of your death. You simply go into your bank and inform a customer service representative that you wish to make your accounts payable on death (POD). They will have you complete a form listing the name and contact information of the person you want to have immediate access to any remaining balances.
- Invest in life insurance policies.
Life insurance policies provide important protections in certain situations, such as if you have young children or significant amounts of unpaid debts. These funds can be disbursed prior to probate, allowing your family to pay for funeral costs and other expenses.
Reach Out To Our Tampa Estate Planning Attorney
At Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., we provide the trusted legal guidance needed to ensure you and your loved ones are protected in case of any unexpected events. Reach out and call or contact our Tampa estate planning attorney online and request a consultation today.