Do I Need A Florida Probate Attorney?
If you are facing the reality of Florida probate, you may be wondering if a lawyer is really necessary. In short, in almost all cases, you will require the assistance of a probate attorney. Except in the case of very small estates disposed of without administration and those for which the executor is the sole beneficiary, the state of Florida requires a probate attorney. Although probate can be a lengthy, complex, and expensive legal process, and the cost of probate is deducted from the estate before the remainder is distributed to beneficiaries, the good news is that despite the expense, attorneys provide a great amount of value during the probate process, and they make navigating the process far more streamlined and efficient.
Understanding the Probate Process
Many people learn about probate for the first time when coping with the loss of a loved one. This is a frustrating and overwhelming time to be confronted with an inconvenient estate-planning reality. Probate is the process that takes place after someone dies, by which their debts and accounts are settled and their assets are distributed. One common misconception is that someone can avoid probate by having a valid will. In fact, verifying the validity of the will is part of the probate process. Anyone with a will will have to go through the probate process. People often wish to avoid probate because it can last months or even years during which time beneficiaries may lack access to vital assets and resources, like a home or bank account. Additionally, particularly if the estate is large, complex, or if people contest the will, probate can become a significant drain on the estate that is being distributed. However, the only way to avoid probate is to make sure assets are not in your name. You can either add another owner with survivorship rights or transfer all of the assets that you want to avoid probate into a trust. Trusts will allow any assets that they contain to bypass probate. This is because the assets are technically under the ownership of the trust, rather than being your asset. Any assets not transferred into the trust at your time of death will still need to go through the probate process and can be dispensed by a will.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you have recently lost a loved one, a lawyer can help ensure that their authentic wishes are adhered to and that your rights are protected with regard to the disposition of the estate. If you would like to develop an estate plan that protects your wishes and provides for your loved ones, our experienced probate and estate planning attorneys can help you come up with a customized estate plan that meets your needs.
Schedule a Consultation
If you require assistance with the disposition of an estate, have questions about the probate process, or need representation, contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. West Palm Beach probate lawyer Larry E. Bray is ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and make sure that your best interest is represented and protected. Call today to schedule a consultation.