Though many people do not clearly understand what probate actually is, most people know it is something best avoided. Here we shall understand what probate is and why you should avoid it.
What is Probate?
Probate is a process in which the court decides who receives assets that were owned by a person who has died. Probate is not always necessary and can be avoided.
Why Probate should be avoided?
1. It is a long-drawn process
Probate usually takes a lot of time in most states. In Florida, it may take a few weeks to even a few months to open the probate estate. The reasons for the delay include:
- It usually takes times for the heirs to meet with the attorney, as required by the Florida law
- Heirs need to pull up information as demanded by the attorney to open the case in appropriate probate court
- Attorney would also need time to gather necessary paper work needed to open the probate estate
- The probate judge then analyzes the paperwork and signs the orders that are officially needed to open the probate estate.
While the process takes place the heirs will not have any access to the probate estate.
2. Probate is expensive
The worst part of probates is that they are pretty expensive. You need to hire an attorney for your probate if you are in Florida. Until the probate estate gets officially opened you will need to bear the court fees and costs, as well as the attorney’s fees. The fee of an estate planning and probate attorney in Florida can be quite high as it is based on the worth of the estate. Some lawyers charge a percentage of the estate value while other law firms like Heider Law charge a flat fee.
You will need to bear this fee even before you receive the inheritance. This is one of they key reasons why people believe that probates are certainly best avoided.
3. Probate court records come in public
As probate is a public court process, it means your personal details as well as that of the estate comes under public purview. Anybody therefore can visit the local courthouse to check your probate files for any reason. The probate files in Florida usually furnish following details –
- The heirs of the estate as well their respective mailing addresses
- The last will and testament of the deceased, in case the decedent left a will
- The estimated value of the property that is to be probated
- Details about the property located in any other state
- Details about the debts left by the deceased, if any
- Contact details of the attorney hired as Personal Representative.
You would certainly not like such details to come in public court record permanently. Sometimes, the information can be misused by scammers and creditors to harass the heirs or the attorney.
How to Avoid Probate?
The best way to avoid probate and make life peaceful for your heirs is to get in touch with a trustworthy Estate Planning attorney in Florida. Depending on your estate and how you wish to distribute your estate amongst your loved ones, your attorney will guide you on how you can possibly avoid probate.