When it comes to preparing for the worst, and being ready for the time when you will not be with your family anymore, we find that people have a lot of questions. It can seem a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately, for most people, having a last will and testament is all they believe they need to protect their future. While they are not entirely wrong, and this is a common misconception, the truth is, that i not really the case. In fact, if all you have is a last will and testament, you could end up in probate.
You may wonder what probate is. Probate is the legal process of winding up the affairs of the deceased person.
When you die, with or without a will, your entire estate may go into probate. This means that a judge will have to follow the probate laws that decide who is entitled to everything that you own. If you have a last will and testament, it will play a part in this process. If you do not, however, your estate will be decided under the intestacy laws and could end up lasting longer and costing more than you would have wanted.
Many of our clients ask, why is it so important that you avoid probate? We have already touched on this a little. Probate can be time-consuming and it can be expensive. It is also a very public process in Florida. This is also a time when creditors, and even those you do not want to inherit from you, may come forward to challenge your estate. Of course, you will not be here to experience it, but your family will be.
Creating a last will and testament is not how we avoid probate. In fact, it is how we ensure it will happen. Instead, we work with our clients to create a trust agreement. Through this trust agreement, and there are many types, we can put your assets into it to ensure that they will not need to go through the probate process. Assets only owned in your name, and therefore are without an owner at your death, go through the probate process. By putting, or funding, assets into your trust, we can prevent a scenario in which probate may be needed.
We know this topic may be confusing, especially if you were previously told all you needed was a last will and testament in your estate plan. Do not wait to contact us and let us help you determine what you need in your estate plan. We look forward to creating the plan you need now for yourself and for your loved ones.