Are you searching for some key ideas on how to avoid probate in Florida? Are you contemplating creating an estate plan? Are you planning to at least create a last will and testament sometime in the future? Is your idea that with a last will and testament you can avoid probate? We encourage you to keep reading.
First, creating a Florida last will and testament is extremely important. That being said, it cannot be used to avoid probate and this is why. A will is a set of instructions for your personal representative, who you choose when you create your will. Your will directs your personal representative, with written instructions, in how to distribute all of your assets. You may have assets that include a house, a vehicle, bank or brokerage accounts or personal items. Now, the important information you need to know is that upon your passing your personal representative will be required to probate your will. Probate takes time and, possibly, money from your estate. Now, knowing all about a will, you should consider other estate planning tools if you want to keep your assets out of probate.
A key idea to avoid probate would be to use the estate planning tool called a trust. We recommend you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney to discuss the addition of a trust to your estate plan. He may advise that a revocable trust would be a good way to avoid putting your estate through probate. In addition to creating your trust, your Florida estate planning attorney will help you put all your current assets into your trust. Now once you have worked with your Florida estate planning attorney and created and funded your trust you may think you are done. However, that is not the case. As time goes by, there may be many changes in your assets, you may sell some assets and acquire other assets. The key idea here is that in order to avoid probate all changes in your assets must be reflected in your trust. Do not forget to put your new assets into your trust! The key idea is to be aware that only the assets in your trust will avoid probate. Any other assets you may have acquired, but forgot or erred to put into the trust, will have to go through probate.
A key idea, and one that is often overlooked, is to have a plan in place to meet annually or biannually with your Florida estate planning attorney. You and your attorney can look at all your estate planning tools to make sure they are up-to-date and that you can still accomplish your goal of having your estate avoid probate.
Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
Have you created an estate plan? Are you planning to? Did you know that, according to a 2022 wills survey, less than one-third of Americans have an estate plan in place? Interestingly, though, almost two-thirds of Americans admit that having an estate plan is important. The primary reason why people do not have an estate plan in place, even though they believe it is important, is because they believe that they do not have enough assets, according to this same survey. We would like to discuss four important reasons for you to begin working with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney to create an estate plan to protect your assets and your wishes.
1. Minimize estate taxes. By creating your estate plan you may be able to minimize the amount of taxes your estate may have to pay. It depends on the size of your estate and the location of your property, as to whether the tax burden may be very substantial if the proper estate plan is not put into place.
2. Take care of your children. There are multiple reasons why estate planning can be important if you have children. One very important reason is that you have the opportunity to name in your will who you would want to raise your children in the event of your death. If you do not have a will with this information, the court will probably have to step in and make that decision. Another important reason is in the handling of your assets for your children. You, of course, want to decide how your assets are distributed to your children in the event of your death. However, if you die without an estate plan, the decision about the distribution of your assets will probably be governed by the laws of the state of Florida.
3. You want everything private. Are you concerned about the public nature of probate? Do you want to keep your estate affairs more private? By working with a Florida estate planning attorney you can take advantage of a variety of estate planning documents that can help you accomplish this task.
4. You need to plan for incapacity. Are you aware that estate planning is not just about what happens to your assets when you die? In fact, no matter what your age or what your assets are, what would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated due to an accident or illness? Who would pay your bills, monitor your business, take care of your children or make medical decisions? All of these questions can be answered in a good and thorough Florida estate plan.
Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to creating a good Florida estate plan. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.