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By: Roberto Vazquez

What Is Probate?

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After a person passes away in Florida, probate begins. The probate process must be considered when you plan your estate. Our law firm has considerable experience with the probate courts in central Florida.

If your loved ones need legal assistance with the probate process after your death, an Orlando probate attorney knows how to resolve the most complicated probate disputes. We will make sure that the process is conducted as fairly and as smoothly as possible.

What is probate? Can its cost be reduced, or can probate be entirely avoided? What else should you know about probate in Florida? If you keep reading, these questions will be answered below.

What Happens in the Probate Process?

During probate, a probate court inventories and evaluates the assets and properties in a decedent’s estate, sees that the estate’s taxes and debts are paid, and distributes the remainder of the estate to the parties named as heirs in the decedent’s will.

If you can, you should make sure that your estate will not be subject to probate for at least two reasons. The probate process takes months and, in some cases, longer than a year, and probate is expensive. The legal costs can substantially reduce the value of your estate.

That’s why probate must be considered in the estate planning process, and it’s also one of the reasons why you should seek estate planning guidance from an estate planning attorney who has substantial experience in Florida’s probate courts.

How Should You Choose an Estate Planning Attorney?

Probate is exceedingly complicated in Florida. When someone’s probatable estate is evaluated at $75,000 or less, or if the decedent’s death was two or more years ago, the estate is subject to “summary” administration. Other Florida estates go through “formal” probate administration.

Probate is even more confusing if you own assets in other states. For instance, if you reside and pass away in Ohio but you were the owner of an Orlando condominium, the condominium will be subject to probate in Florida, while the remainder of the estate will be probated in Ohio.

Consulting an Orlando probate attorney will help your estate’s executor – when the time comes – avoid the probate costs and delays that reduce what your loved ones inherit. By preparing your estate plan properly, you can lower the cost of the probate process – or avoid it entirely.

Can Probate Be Avoided?

Probate can be avoided by establishing a living trust. Assets and properties that you move into a living trust legally belong to the trust and are no longer part of your probatable estate. A trustee you’ve named – and not a probate court – will manage and close out your estate.

An Orlando probate attorney will discuss your estate planning needs, review your circumstances, and prepare a living trust that will protect your estate – and your loved ones – from the costs and other difficulties of the Florida probate process.

To learn more about the probate process or to prepare a living trust, you can reach our offices in Orlando by calling 407-426-7222. We can’t know what tomorrow will bring, so you should make the call today.