Why is Probate Important?
Talking about probate isn’t something that people want to do since it involves someone that recently passed. A loved one’s loss is among the hardest things you can go through. This time is understandably difficult, and the thought of dealing with all the legal processes needed during this challenging time can be overwhelming. Brian McMahon, our West Palm Beach probate attorney, is here to give you sensible legal advice to get you through it. To start, here’s a look at what probate is and why it’s important and necessary.
Understanding The Probate Process in Florida
Before going into why probate is important, you need to understand what it is. Basically, probate is a legal process used for dealing with a deceased person’s estate. It entails specific steps to ensure that the entire process is done correctly. Mainly, probate involves identifying all the assets of the deceased, collecting them, and preparing them to be distributed to beneficiaries or heirs. If applicable, probate also ensures that the deceased’s taxes and debts will be paid.
If the decedent left a valid will, the estate’s assets will be distributed based on the instructions in the will. Otherwise, the estate must be probated according to the state’s intestacy laws.
The Importance of Probate
It is immensely vital that the decedent’s estate is distributed as the decedent intended. Usually, the decedent’s family and beneficiaries are on the same page. In some cases, however, disagreements can arise, and absent proper legal guidance, things can easily get out of hand.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to fight over money and property when someone dies. The probate process can help make certain that the decedent’s assets will pass to the proper beneficiaries. Likewise, if the decedent left behind many debts, the probate process will enable valid creditors to make their claim on the decedent’s assets in an organized manner.
Is Probate Always Necessary in Florida?
Probate is only necessary if the decedent had assets that are not passed through contract. As an example, if a retirement account lists beneficiaries, the proceeds can pass to the beneficiaries without being probated. Likewise, if a bank account is co-owned, it does not need to be probate. Real estate however, must be held with a right of survivorship with a co-owner for it to pass to the co-owner without probate.
Talk to a Skilled West Palm Beach Probate Attorney Today
If you have questions or need more information on the probate process in Florida, don’t hesitate to talk to our West Palm Beach probate attorney, Brian McMahon. It is also possible to avoid the probate process with the right estate planning strategy. Working with an estate planning lawyer is crucial to figuring out the most appropriate methods specific to your situation to avoid probate and make sure your assets will be handled according to your wishes upon your death.
You can arrange your free consultation with our West Palm Beach probate attorney by calling 561-658-1789 or reaching us online.