Is probate required?
If a person owns property at their death that is not in a trust, joint account with the right of survivorship, or other type of property, then yes. A will does not avoid probate, it tells the Court what to do. Similarly, if there is no will, the Court will distribute property pursuatn to Florida law.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process through which the Court will distribute the assets of a person who dies either with a will or without a will. If a person dies with a valid will, the probate court will distribute the property in accordance with the will. If there is no will, the probate court in Florida will distribute the property in accordance with Florida law.
What is the problem with probate?
Probate in Florida takes a long time because court procedures are required and creditors have to receive proper notice so they can pursue debts the deceased person had. Even simple estates with no issues often take 7+ months in probate. Additionally, an attorney is often required by law and will charge a fee. There will also be court costs and costs associated with giving notice to creditors, as well as accounting fees.
Is probate required if you have a will?
Yes! The purpose of a will is to tell the Court how to distribute the decedent's property and what each beneficiary will receive. A will can also be used to name guardians for children, add property to a trust, and for other necessary purposes.
Can I avoid probate in Florida?
Yes, there are strategies to avoid or minimize probate. For example, property in a trust does not go through probate. Life insurance proceeds that go to a beneficiary other than the estate itself do not go through probate. Property in joint accounts or jointly-owned real estate with a right of survivorship do not go through probate. Also, homestead property in Florida does not go through probate. Through good planning, we can minimize the exposure to the probate process.
Can a power of attorney be used after someone dies?
No! It becomes invalid.
How much does probate cost?
The Florida probate court requires that lawyers charge a fee that is reasonable. The Florida statutes contain a listing of fees that the legislature has found are presumed to be reasonable. In many cases, we can charge less than the fee allowed in the statutes. We will provide up-front pricing information to you with no surprises after learning about the estate.
Will I have to go to court for probate?
Usually not, unless a hearing is required for some specific issue. A lawyer can take care of the probate administration paperwork and deal with the Court for the most part.