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Is Having a Last Will and Testament Enough to Avoid Florida Probate?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2020 | Firm News |


Did you know that many people try to avoid the probate process at all costs? They have heard that it is costly, public, and time consuming. In many instances, this is not a “wrong” understanding but it does not provide a full picture. The Florida probate process can serve the valuable purpose of ensuring that your assets are transferred to those you care about at your death.

It is important to have an estate plan that sets forth the person, or persons, who should inherit from you at the time of your passing. This is why you may believe, or have been told, that you should have a last will and testament. On the surface, this may make sense because in this document you describe the loved ones who should inherit from you and how. The truth is, however, that a will can help ensure that you will have to go through the probate process. How? Let us share some key insight with you here in our blog.

First, without an estate plan of any kind, at the time of your passing a judge will have to make all of the decisions regarding your estate. He or she will follow the Florida intestacy laws to determine who is entitled to inherit and what he or she is entitled to. This may, or may not, represent what you actually wanted for your estate.

Unfortunately, when you only create a last will and testament, you are ensuring your estate goes through the probate process. This is because, at the time of your death, your assets in your estate will still be held in your name. To transfer them, legally, you must go through the probate process.

We understand that your goal may be to avoid probate and that you want to know how you can plan to avoid this outcome. If you are trying to avoid going through probate you can improve your chances by creating a trust agreement. There are many types of trust agreements that may create a vehicle for you to transfer your assets into, thus retitling them so there is an “owner” of your assets even at the time of your death.

While this is not going to guarantee to stop the need for probate entirely, it is going to help you reduce the chances that the process will be needed. Know that the probate process has its merits but can be extremely hard on those who are left behind.  After all, when they lose you the last thing that they will want is to go through a long, drawn out court process. 

We know this blog may raise more questions than it answers. We also know the challenges you may face and the concerns that you may have. Do not wait to contact our law practice to schedule a meeting to get the answers you need and ask your questions now, or any point in the future.