Because many estate planners want to avoid probate, it is important to be familiar with what probate is and the probate process. Though you have likely heard the term on many occasions, you may wonder what probate involves.
Most people in Florida know that they need to have an estate plan in place. However, for a variety of reasons, some individuals put off this highly important task. Some people may believe that they have insufficient assets to warrant an estate plan. Others may believe that there are simply too many options to consider to come to a decision. And, still others are just plain procrastinating. But, with the right approach, the issues of estate planning and probate can be handled efficiently and effectively.
For many Florida residents, estate planning can be a challenge. For starters, many people are simply unfamiliar with many of the estate planning options available to them, while others put off the task until later, whenever that is. However, for those who realize the importance of crafting a comprehensive estate plan, there are likely to be many questions. One question will likely pertain to the utility of a trust as part of an estate plan - can a trust help you avoid probate?
Most people in Florida know what a will is supposed to do as part of an estate plan. This document is intended to specify how the person who makes it, called the testator, wants their assets distributed upon death, as well as noting any potential guardian for minor children, among many other possibilities. But, in order to have an effective will drafted, there are certain legal requirements for this document that must be met.
Most Florida residents know that they need to have an estate plan in place, yet the task of estate planning is routinely one that is pushed aside to be addressed later. But, no one knows what is going to happen to them today, tomorrow or anytime in the future. So, is it acceptable to just go through life without an estate plan, or at least a will? Probably not.
There are a lot of considerations that have to go into estate planning. As we have discussed on this blog previously, individuals must consider whether wills and trusts will be beneficial to them and, if so, how best to craft them to meet their needs. While the focus of these legal instruments is often to protect assets from creditors and ensure asset distribution in accordance with an individual's wishes, there may be another major issue that needs to be considered: taxes.
The world is not the same as it was 50 years ago. It is not even the same as it was five years ago. Generally speaking, our lives have become digitized on a massive scale. Money can come and go without one seeing a physical bank note, and our lives are documented on social media. For many, this digitization has made life easier. But, in some respects, the constantly evolving world around us can lead to new challenges, especially when it comes to estate planning.
Quite frequently, those who engage in estate planning maintain their focus on the financial aspects of the process. Sure, deciding how to distribute assets and diminish debts is of critical importance in these matters, but they are not the only concerns that Floridians should take into account.
Many Floridians hate thinking about their own mortality. This is completely natural. Yet, considering our ultimate demise is important when it comes to estate planning. After all, those who fail to figure out how to address their assets and debt in the event of their passing may wind up leaving their loved ones with unexpected probate costs. Also, if they fail to plan, then they may be unable to have their assets passed down in accordance with their wishes.
Estate planning is generally something than many people neglect until it is almost too late. This procrastination should be avoided at all costs, as doing so could endanger the estate's assets in many ways. Property may go to the individual whom the deceased did not wish to inherit, and taxes and fees can leave the estate significantly diminished. Yet, even those who take steps in an attempt to protect their estate may wind up facing legal trouble.