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.