When someone dies, family members find themselves tasked with wrapping up the financial and business affairs of their loved one. Without any instructions left behind, family and friends have to try to imagine what their loved one would have wanted, and legal matters are left to the default laws of the state.
To minimize stress, conflict, and unintended consequences, everyone should take time to develop an estate plan. An estate plan may be as simple as drawing up a will, but it should include much more than that. Our experienced St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys are able to help you organize your assets and create a comprehensive estate plan that serves you and your family.
What Is Probate?
Once an individual passes, his or her assets (collectively referred to as the “estate”) must pass through a legal process called “probate.” When an estate goes through this process, the probate court in the relevant jurisdiction files the deceased person’s will in the public record and then appoints the Personal Representative, who will be responsible for making sure that creditors are paid and the remainder of the estate properly passes to the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Probate can be a complicated and frustrating experience, but there are many ways that an estate plan can simplify the process and resolve any potential conflicts.
To learn more about the probate process, and to get any specific questions answered regarding your own family’s experience with probate, please contact us to learn more about our probate services.
If your loved one has recently passed, the probate administration process can seem incredibly overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. Contact our probate attorneys to help guide you through the process. Our attorneys can provide assistance throughout the probate administration process, including, but not limited to the following:
- Submitting a will to the relevant Florida probate court;
- Locating all assets and beneficiaries;
- Resolving the estate’s debts and tax obligations;
- Challenging any wrongful claims from creditors;
- Distributing assets in accordance with the will; and
- Closing the estate at the completion of the probate administration.
If any conflicts or complications arise during the probate administration process, our attorneys are experienced in resolving these issues and seeking efficient and cost-effective solutions.
Planning for Florida Probate
We often hear clients say they never realized they needed an estate plan because they are early in their careers or their finances are relatively simple. The truth is, estate planning is not just for the wealthy or for those thinking about retirement. No one likes to think about it, but it is possible for the unexpected to occur at any time in our lives. Without a plan in place, these tragic circumstances can be even more devastating for the family members and friends left behind.
Without an estate plan in place, all of your financial and business affairs will pass through the probate court process. This process is public, lengthy, and costly. Luckily, there are many ways that you can keep assets out of probate and help ease your loved ones’ burden after you are gone.
If you have never before met with an attorney about your estate plan, the best place to start is with a will. While a will does not keep your estate out of probate, it does ensure that your financial, personal, and real property will transfer to your beneficiaries as you intend. Without a valid will in place, your estate will be distributed according to Florida intestacy laws. These default laws will likely not create a result that suits your family, and loved ones, or serves your wishes.
What Else Goes Into an Estate Plan Beyond a Will?
Once you have created your will, there is so much more you can do with your estate plan to protect your family, assets, and legacy. Our estate planning attorneys are dedicated to working with each client to develop an individualized plan that best suits your needs. We think of our estate plans as strategies, not simply as forms to be filled out, and our attorneys are here for you to help your estate planning strategy develop and grow with you over time.
Contact our St. Petersburg Estate Planning attorneys for help with the following:
Setting up, funding, and administering trusts;
Preparing durable powers of attorney;
- Creating a living will and advance healthcare directives;
- Naming guardians and providing for minor children;
- Reviewing and updating all financial asset information; and
- Developing a legacy plan that preserves the intangible assets you wish to pass on to future generations.