561-330-5306

Delray Beach Estate Law Blog

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.

Executors must handle the fees associated with probate

When a loved one leaves behind a will as part of a Florida estate plan, that document needs validating by the court. This step is a part of the probate process, which also entails settling the decedent's final affairs. If the will designated an executor, this person has the responsibility of handling the tasks involved in the process, including taking care of the associated fees.

Probate is often necessary, but it can also be a costly process. There are a number of different fees associated with the proceedings, and though the executor must make sure the fees are paid, he or she does not have to pay them out of pocket most of the time. Instead, estate funds are used, which means that the overall value of the estate will be reduced by the number of fees covered.

To determine inheritances, requesting a will may be useful

It is common for people to wonder whether they may receive something from a recently deceased person's estate if they were particularly close to the decedent. While the executor of a Florida estate has the duty of contacting heirs and beneficiaries, it is not always easy to find those individuals. If parties believe they may have inheritances coming but have not been contacted, they may wonder how they can find out.

Usually, individuals leave behind wills that contain information on how property should be distributed after death. When a will goes through probate, it becomes part of the public record, which means that a person interested in seeing the contents of a particular will could request a copy of the document. This document may then help a person determine whether he or she is in line for an inheritance.

Asset distribution a touchy part of estate administration

Asset distribution is an important part of closing a Florida estate. However, there is a time for making such distributions, and it typically takes place at the end of the estate administration process. Of course, surviving loved ones who have had their eyes on certain items or who have been bequeathed items may try to get those assets sooner.

The executor of the estate is in charge of distributing assets to the rightful beneficiaries. This person also has an obligation to complete the steps of probate in the correct order. Early distributions of assets could result in the estate not having enough assets to cover creditor claims or taxes that the estate must address. In this type of scenario, the executor could wind up on the hook of having to cover those liabilities out of pocket.

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

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.

close

Privacy Policy