If you fail to create an estate plan, your assets will likely have to go through the probate process after you pass away. Probate is a court-supervised process by which your assets are distributed to your heir and creditors. Unfortunately, probate has many downsides, which leads many people to take steps to avoid it. In this article, we discuss reasons to avoid probate in Florida.
Florida Probate Cons
Lack of privacy: Probate in Florida is a public process. In other words, if your estate goes through the probate process, anyone can access documents related to the proceeding, meaning that your personal information will be exposed. So, if you value your privacy, you should consider creating an estate plan.
Lack of control: The court regulates the probate process. Therefore, during probate, your personal representative will be required to seek court permission to administer certain assets. This can serve as a barrier to selling certain types of assets, such as real property. If you want your agents to maintain full control of your estate after your death, you should create an estate plan.
Cost: Legal fees and personal representative compensation can add up quickly during probate. Typically, the more complex or bigger the estate, the greater the probate costs. And although there are costs associated with the estate planning process, they typically pale in comparison to probate costs.
Time: The average probate proceeding takes anywhere from eight months to a year to complete. And if an estate contains illiquid assets, the process can take even longer. By avoiding probate with a comprehensive estate plan, however, the time required to administer one’s estate is greatly reduced.
Avoiding Probate in Florida
Steps you can take to help avoid probate in Florida include:
Create a trust: One of the best ways to avoid probate in Florida is to create a trust. With a trust, your assets are held in the name of the trust, not your name. Thus, assets in the trust are typically not subject to the probate process.
Designate beneficiaries: In the state of Florida, many types of accounts, such as IRAs and life insurance accounts, allow for the designation of beneficiaries. An account’s designated beneficiary is permitted to access to the funds in the account upon the account holder’s death. Accessing an account’s funds as a beneficiary does not require probate.
Change real estate ownership: Finally, you can add an heir’s name to the deed to your real estate, which will ensure that he or she receives the property after your death without having to go through probate.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer
If you wish to avoid probate in Florida, the Law Office of Angela Siegel is here for you. When you come to us for help, founding attorney Angela Siegel will work with you to create an estate plan that avoids probate and ensures the protection of you and your family for years to come. Please contact us to arrange a consultation with our talented estate planning lawyer.