Though widely considered to be an onerous and undesirable process, probate is far from troublesome – at least for those who know the facts and have the right legal professional on their side. Here is a brief but useful guide on what this commonly misunderstood legal process entails and whether it applies to you.
Put simply, probate is a court-supervised legal that administers your estate and distribute you assets to the beneficiaries specified in your will (via an executor or designated personal representative). It is vital to identifying and gathering assets, passing on ownership to your loved ones, and paying off any debts.
Laws governing probate vary from state to state. In Florida, probate is legally required in one of two situations: if the decedent was a Florida resident with assets in Florida, or if the decedent was not a Florida resident but has assets in the state. Even in these instances, probate occurs only with assets owned solely by the deceased at the time of his or her death, or with assets owned with one or more co-owners but lacking any mechanism for automatic succession.
Thus, assets held in joint names with right of survivorship – such as a non-homestead property or bank account – or that have a designated beneficiary (such as life insurance and retirement plan proceeds) are not probate assets.
The state of Florida offers the option of Summary Probate Administration, which is basically a fast-track approach that is easier to implement. This applies only to assets that are less than $75,000 or in case when the decedent has passed away more than two years.
A well written and legally advised will is the best way to ensure a smooth probate process for all beneficiaries. It is ideal to consult a professional probate attorney in order to determine when or even if you need probate, and how best to go about the process.
Like probate, the importance of a Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney will remain clear. It is vital to ensure that the bankruptcy process runs as smoothly as possible. By the same token, Foreclosure Defense Fort Lauderdale is vital to ensure your financial and legal rights are defended.