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What is the probate process?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2019 | Estate Planning |

To many Florida residents, the thought of probate can seem worrisome. Those who are doing their estate planning are likely to be concerned about the inheritance process being as painless as possible for their family after they die. After the death of a loved one, the surviving family members may worry about an argument over the will putting the estate into probate limbo indefinitely. It may put your mind at ease to learn how the probate process works. 

According to NerdWallet, probate is the process in which property is distributed to the beneficiaries after death. In the best situations, the probate court determines the validity of a will, ensures estate taxes are paid if applicable and authorizes the executor to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. A properly executed will can go through probate relatively smoothly. On the other hand, probate becomes more complicated if you die without a will or if your family members dispute its terms. The probate court will then be responsible for determining who is entitled to the estate or for settling the dispute. As you can imagine, the results might not be as you would have liked. 

It is important to have a valid, clear will in place to avoid these difficulties. You have other options that may help your loved ones avoid a lengthy probate process, including establishing a living trust, giving your assets to your loved ones while you are still alive, jointly owning property with someone who will inherit it after your death or having a small estate. Since estate planning requires experienced counsel, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.