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Best Legal Tools To Avoid Florida Probate


Many different people have horror stories about the probate process, citing its complexity and the length of time required for it to wind to a conclusion. Sometimes, it may be necessary to go through the process, but in general, most estates can avoid it with the right planning, meaning that assets reach their intended beneficiaries much faster and debts are more quickly repaid. Enlisting the right attorney to plan your estate can make all the difference.

Is Probate Ever Required?

The probate process in Florida is, generally speaking, difficult, time-consuming, and public, meaning that the records are (at least in theory) available to the public. Most of the time, probate will be required if an estate has assets that have not been accounted for, or debts that have not been paid. This is especially true if the decedent owned real property, which often requires specific documents and agreements to properly convey to someone else.

That said, if a person has created an estate plan, it may be possible to either skip probate entirely or to undergo what Florida calls summary administration – essentially a simplified version. Summary administration is available to estates where the decedent’s will does not specifically state that it should be probated, and either (1) the decedent has been gone for 2 years or more; or (2) the total value of the estate’s non-exempt assets is less than $75,000.

How To Avoid The Process

If you want your asset to avoid probate, there are a handful of legal tools that may help with that goal, depending on which types of assets you are attempting to shield from the process. For example, making a checking account’s contents payable on the death of the holder will make the account immune from probate, though doing this has other disadvantages (namely, that the funds are not protected from creditors).

Perhaps the most common tool to insulate assets from probate is a living trust. A trust puts assets into its own name, rather than in the possession of the one creating the trust. Thus, the assets do not have to go through probate because they are technically no longer assets belonging to the decedent – but the decedent has the right to enjoy those assets during their lifetime. By statute, assets in a trust pass to beneficiaries immediately, because the decedent made their preference clear by putting the asset in the trust to begin with.

Call A Hollywood, FL Probate Attorney

Losing someone close to you is never easy, and the confusion of the probate process can make things feel worse. If you have questions or concerns about planning your estate to avoid probate, a Hollywood, FL probate attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can help to get them managed. Call our office today at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.



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The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A., is located in Hollywood, FL and serves clients in and around Dania, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Miami, Pembroke Pines, Miami Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale, Aventura, Boca Raton, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County.

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Hollywood, FL 33021
Telephone: 954-963-5900
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