Probate: What You Need to Know
Fortunately, for the majority of people, death of a loved one is not a common occurrence. However, when it does happen, it can result in a great deal of stress. This is particularly true when the deceased has not planned the distribution of his assets. Family members must go through probate to acquire these assets.
During probate proceedings, the court transfers ownership of the deceased individual’s assets to the beneficiaries of the estate. This process begins with filing a petition. This petition lists everything that the deceased person owned. It also directs the distribution of the assets.
The petition might be more complicated for a larger estate, and there is a greater chance of conflicting interests from within the family. As a result, it can take up to 18 months for the petition to be filed. The probate proceedings might take around 6 months if the estate is smaller in size. In either case, the costs will be approximately three to seven percent of the overall estate.
For individuals with wills, probate is still a required process. Ultimately, if there are any asset is in the deceased person’s name, probate is necessary. However, in some situations, the probate hearings may not be as complex.
In Florida, if the estate is less than $75,000, an informal hearing can be conducted with a probate administration. Conversely, if the estate is worth more than $75,000, family members will probably have to go to court.
In any case, if you are required to attend a probate hearing, you must follow proper procedure. You will need to be represented by an attorney unless you are the only one claiming the estate. An attorney is required because there is the possibility that the estate could be contested for 3 years after the initial proceedings. An attorney will guarantee that you have fair representation.
To avoid probate, family members should consider alternative options for estate planning. A living trust is one of the easiest options because it immediately transfers ownership of the assets upon the decedent’s death.
While the beneficiaries will still need to visit an attorney, the overall process is less stressful. It is faster, cheaper and generally more convenient than traditional probate. Also, a lawyer will sometimes take payment out of the estate. So, while you will receive less from the probate, you will not have to pay anything upfront.
Regardless of how you approach settling an estate, it is prudent to consult with a trust and estate attorney.
In South Florida call the Estate Planning and Probate attorneys of Wild Felice and Partners at :