Proactive Strategies For Preparing Your Estate For The Probate Process In Florida
As described simply by the Florida Courts, “probate is a court-supervised process” that involves the identification, gathering, and, eventually, the distribution of the assets of a decedent (deceased person). You may have heard horror stories about the probate process. The good news is that it does not have to be that way. Here, our Tampa probate lawyers highlight some proactive strategies to help you and your family be best prepared for the probate process in Florida.
Write a Comprehensive Will
The single most important thing you can do to prepare your estate for probate is to draft a comprehensive, legally valid will. Did you know that many U.S. adults lack a will? A survey cited by the AARP found that 60 percent of Americans lack a will, let alone other estate planning documents.
In Florida, your estate will go through probate regardless of whether or not you have a will. If you lack a will, your property, assets, and debts will be controlled by Florida law. You (and your family) lose any direct control. With a well-drafted will, you can both maintain control of your property and make the probate process as smooth and efficient as possible.
Select an Executor Who is Up to the Task
If you do have a will, it is the executor of that will who is responsible for initiating the probate process. It is important to select an executor who is up to the responsibilities. You can select any competent adult to serve as your executor. Some people choose a close loved one, such as a spouse or adult child. Others choose a professional, such as a Florida probate law attorney.
Limit Your Estate’s Exposure to the Probate Process
Even at its best, probate can be a time-consuming and complicated process. For that reason, it is often a good strategy to try to limit the share of your estate that has to go through probate. There are a number of different ways to limit your estate’s exposure to probate. To start, you should ensure that your beneficiary designations are up-to-date. Certain accounts—such as a tax-advantaged retirement account—may pass outside of probate. Additionally, you may want to consider setting up one or more trusts for the benefit of your heirs.
Make Sure Your Loved One are Aware of Your Plans
Communication is another one of the keys to proactively preparing for probate. The last thing you want is to leave your family and loved ones with confusion and/or conflict. By making sure that they are fully aware of your plans, you can reduce the risk of problems during probate.
Call Our Tampa Probate Law Attorney for Guidance and Support
At Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., our Tampa probate lawyers are skilled, experienced, and reliable advocates for our clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about probate planning, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online today to arrange your confidential, no obligation consultation. We provide probate law services throughout all of Hillsborough County.