Probate Might Not Be What You Think

While there’s a general understanding of what probate is for those who have an estate plan, the process itself isn’t well understood. What is generally known about it tends to be negative: people believe it erodes the financial value of the state and can drag on for years, making probate something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

The truth is that under some circumstances, probate can be a good thing for an estate. In this blog, we’ll highlight what you need to know about the process in general and go over the times when it can be beneficial.

Benefits of Probate

Probate requires full disclosure of all information and costs, minimizing beneficiary concerns. A personal representative presents the will, discloses and appraises assets, identifies and pays all valid creditor claims, and ensures all distributions to beneficiaries and expenses are approved by the court. The beneficiaries are therefore assured that the personal representative is disclosing all information about the estate and that the court is approving their actions during the probate process.

Other advantages of probate include but are not limited to:

  • It shortens the time that creditors have to file claims. If they fail to do it on time and in the correct manner, they may not get paid, leaving beneficiaries with more money.
  • If the decedent died a wrongful death (e.g. car accident), a probate proceeding is needed to appoint a personal representative for the estate. This representative will obtain letters to bring and maintain the lawsuit.

Do You Need a Probate Attorney?

Although you’re not legally required to use a probate attorney in Florida, there are times when it’s highly recommended. Estate administration can be complicated, especially if:

  • There are high-value assets with no estate plan in place
  • There is any question about the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs
  • The number and nature of all assets aren’t yet known
  • There are disputes over the validity of the Will or the way it is being administered

If you’ve been appointed the personal representative of an estate, a consultation with a Florida estate planning lawyer can help you determine whether you should get legal help with your responsibilities. At Schlegel Livingston, we have a team of experienced attorneys who are prepared to provide you with legal counsel and peace of mind through this process. Contact our team today and we can help you through life’s most important moments.

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Schlegel Livingston LLC

Schlegel Livingston, LLC is an established real estate and probate/estate planning law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We pride ourselves on being a very hands-on law office who will help our clients by any means necessary.

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