Delray Beach Estate Law Blog

Executors need to have the time to properly complete probate

Before taking on an important position, most people will determine whether they are well suited for the role. For some reason, this does not always take place when a person is asked to become the executor of an estate. In many cases, Florida residents will agree to take on this role without fully knowing what it entails. Before taking that route, individuals may want to consider their abilities and willingness to go through the probate process.

Because probate can take a long time and executors will essentially have another job on top of their regular life responsibilities, it is important to determine whether they will actually have the time to properly complete the process. The executor will need to have the decedent's will validated, gather and protect assets, pay outstanding debts, and distribute assets once the legal proceedings are over. While these tasks may seem simple, they can quickly become complicated.

Some executors may have to sell real estate during probate

When agreeing to act as the executor of an estate, many Florida residents may not know exactly what they are getting into. The overall probate process can be complicated for anyone, and some estates may have assets that make settling affairs even more difficult, like houses that need to be sold. Handling real estate when closing an estate can be a complex aspect of this process.

One of the first steps that an executor needs to take is to determine what needs to be done with the property. Hopefully, the decedent will have left a will or other estate planning document that indicates whether the home should be passed on to a specific heir or whether it should be sold. In the event that it needs to be sold, the executor will need to oversee the real estate transaction.

Putting off estate planning is not a wise step

Florida residents and people across the country often put off important tasks because they believe they can complete them later or that they are not necessary to complete. Commonly, this belief can stem from the fact that many individuals have the wrong information regarding important life steps, such as estate planning. Too many people continue to believe that they do not need estate plans or that they can get away with putting minimal effort into planning, and that can cause problems.

Thinking that one does not need an estate plan is a major mistake. Nearly every adult can benefit from having a plan, but many individuals think that a plan is only necessary if they have a substantial amount of money or other assets that will need distributing after their deaths. However, estate plans go far beyond simply addressing asset distribution, which is why it is important that parties have the right information regarding the various uses of estate plans.

Many surviving loved ones have questions about probate

It is normal for many questions to arise after a loved one's death. However, it is often better to obtain answers to those questions before the person's passing, especially because the person may be the best one to provide those answers. Of course, that is not always possible, but it does not mean that Florida residents cannot obtain the answers they need regarding probate questions.

Many people may wonder what probate is as a whole. In general terms, probate is the process needed to validate a person's will and to then follow the instructions in that will to close the estate. Wills typically focus on bequeathing specific assets to specific people, but the probate process does not start or end there. In fact, there are a number of other tasks that are handled during this process.

DIY estate planning may not be better than not planning at all

Some Florida residents may believe that they can complete any task without spending money on professional help. While this DIY approach may work in many situations, it is not always wise when it comes to estate planning. An estate plan can be effective at providing instruction for family members when they need it most, but if it is not created correctly, it may only cause complications.

Certainly, there are many DIY options available for creating wills and other estate planning documents, but they are limited in the information they provide. For instance, these sites typically do not guide individuals through the documents that would most suit their planning needs. Instead, they tend to assume that the parties already know what documents they want to use. As a result, it is easy to miss out on beneficial planning tools.

Wills and trusts both make useful estate planning tools

Some people may think that having an estate plan is something that only applies to elderly people. However, that is far from the truth. All Florida adults can benefit from estate planning, and while these plans can have personal benefits, they can also benefit surviving loved ones in many ways.

When it comes to making the right plan, many tools are available. In particular, individuals often create wills. This type of document is versatile and can include executor designations, guardian appointments and instructions on how assets should be distributed. Before the instructions can be carried out, the court must validate the document and ensure that any parties nominated to specific roles are suited for those positions. After this validation occurs, the executor can move forward with settling affairs.

Certain professionals can help administer trusts

Creating an estate plan can help Florida residents in countless ways. For some, using trusts can allow them to control their assets in the manner they consider most fitting. Of course, using this tool means that someone will need to be in charge of its administration when the time comes.

Some people may consider hiring professionals to handle their trusts' affairs after their passing, and that certainly is an option. Trust companies can often help those with considerable assets manage their property and administer trusts when needed. They can also act as unbiased parties in the event that family conflict arises over certain property during the settling of the remaining estate. Because these companies are unbiased, they may have a greater ability to work toward the fairest outcomes.

The reasons for estate planning outweigh excuses for delays

Many Florida residents may consider creating estate plans only to not move forward with the process. The reasons for this hesitation can vary, but commonly, people think they have time to create plans later or that they do not even need these plans. However, the reasons for estate planning vastly outweigh the excuses for not planning.

For instance, an estate plan does not just address a person's assets and distribution of wealth. Individuals can make plans to ensure that they will be properly cared for in the event that they cannot care for themselves or make important decisions for themselves. Estate plans can include power of attorney documents that give chosen parties the ability to make vital decisions regarding money or health care. Additionally, individuals can create advanced directives that detail how they want their care handled in particular scenarios.

Estate planning still important for adults without children

Whether Florida residents did not have children by choice or because of the cards life handed them, they likely still have led fulfilling lives so far. However, individuals who do not have kids may wonder whether they should bother with estate planning. They may not think the process is necessary because they do not need to appoint guardians or ensure that assets are protected for their kids, but estate plans can involve much more than just those topics.

An important reason that any adult could benefit from an estate plan is that anyone could become incapacitated. Estate plans can include documents related to health care wishes and documents appointing the appropriate parties to be in charge of important decisions. If a person becomes incapacitated and has not taken the time to create these documents, close loved ones may have to petition the court for guardianship or conservatorship, which can be difficult and emotionally trying.

A 2nd marriage means revisiting estate planning

Getting married is often a fanfare occasion for many Florida residents, even if it is not for the first time. Still, a second marriage can bring many life changes, and whenever such major events occur, it is important to update estate plans. Estate planning is an ongoing process, and while updates should be made regularly anyway, doing so after a significant life change is wise.

There are unique factors to consider when estate planning after a second marriage. For instance, a person may have certain obligations to an ex-spouse due to a divorce order that need addressing in the estate plan. Additionally, parents may want to find the best ways to protect inheritances for their children from their previous relationships, but they may also want to include something for any stepchildren.

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy