Estate planning is often avoided as it confronts end-of-life issues, incapacity, and tough decisions about protecting and providing for the future of your loved ones. However, it is an opportunity to ease the burdens on your family when experiencing the emotional aspects of loss and grief. There are many options for estate planning that affects estate administration and probate. These should be explored with an experienced estate planning attorney. The Boutty Law Firm P.A. can assist with all estate issues for your peace of mind regarding the future.
Options for Estate Planning
There are many advantages to executing a will. It allows you to name a trusted person to manage your estate after death, and if deemed as valid by the court system, it guides the process of probate. A will can serve as a legal document to determine the future caregivers of your children. While many believe that a Last Will and Testament avoids probate, this is not the case. State of Florida law mandates that the court intervene to validate the will, before the distribution of assets and debts. If your assets are located in multiple states, a probate proceeding must take place in each state.
Creating a living trust is an option that avoids the probate process. It allows a successor trustee to manage your estate if you become mentally incapacitated and after death. Without court intervention, a successor trustee can pay off debts and transfer assets to beneficiaries immediately. When executing a living trust, a person’s assets are protected from probate only if transferred into the trust. A living trust affords privacy for the family, as it is not a public document. Other benefits include the saving of time and the costs of probate. There are many types of trusts, and an estate-planning attorney can guide you through choosing the best option based on your personal and business needs.
Probate to Settle Descendant’s’ Estates
Probate is the process of identifying and distributing the assets and debts of a descendent, governed by Florida Statutes, and supervised in a court of law. Probate proceedings are Formal Administration, Summary Administration, or Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.
There are specific criteria for each type of probate proceedings, as follows:
- Formal Administration is a traditional form of probate that can be used for any estate. It is required when non-exempt assets exceed $75,000 or less than two years have passed since the descendants’ death.
- Summary Administration is a shortened version of probate, which applies if the descendant’s estate does not exceed $75,000, not counting the value of a homesteaded property.
- Disposition of Personal Property without Administration is available for small estates with no real estate ownership, and the descendant’s assets do not exceed their debts, such as a funeral, medical and hospital expenses. It allows an heir that has paid these expenses to be reimbursed by the estate.
Probate is designed to protect beneficiaries and creditors; however, there are disadvantages to the probate process.
Probate is time-consuming, leaving the beneficiaries to maintain expenses. These expenses can be real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, funeral expenses, business expenses, and other debts while waiting for the court to process the estate. Probate is costly, which limits the inheritance of your heirs. Also, probate records are public information so that anyone can access and view the estate’s details.
The Boutty Law Firm P.A. is an Experienced Estate Planning and Estate Administration Law Firm
At The Boutty Law Firm P.A., we can help you secure your legacy, with a comprehensive estate plan to manage your financial future. We can assist with the execution of medical Advanced Directives, such as a Living Will or Health Care Surrogate. These will authorize a person of your choosing to be your voice for medical decisions as a result of mental incapacity from a physical or cognitive disability.
The loss of a loved one is an emotional and confusing time.
Our law firm represents executors in a will and successor trustees in a living trust. Without estate pre-planning, your assets and debts are intestate. The Boutty Law Firm P.A. will assist a court-appointed personal representative, in the settling of an estate. In all of these roles, there are many complex responsibilities, such as the valuation of an estate, locating assets, creditors and claims against the estate, notifying beneficiaries, paying current and delinquent taxes, minimizing estate taxes, and the filing of necessary legal documents. To expedite the closing of an estate, our experienced attorneys provide sound, legal advice, and assistance in every scenario, including disputes that may arise, such as will and trust contests.
Call The Boutty Law Firm P.A. at our Winter Park, Florida office at 407-622-1395, for an appointment to secure the future of your estate.