As a Tampa estate planning attorney, I can tell you that the fact that you can potentially avoid probate is one of the biggest benefits of having an estate plan in place. But what is probate here in Florida, and why do you want to avoid it in the first place?
Probate here in Hillsborough County is a public process that is often necessary to administer a loved one’s estate and can end up being very costly, leaving you tied up in the courts for months or even years after the loss of a loved one. During the process, your beneficiaries have limited or no access to the property and funds left behind which you may desperately need. Likewise, most details regarding the proceedings will become a part of the public record, jeopardizing your privacy and putting details about the inheritance that you or your loved ones stand to receive out there for anyone to discover.
The good news is that experienced lawyers can help families avoid probate with proper estate planning documents such as Revocable Living Trusts and other beneficiary designations that allow assets to be passed directly to beneficiaries, should something happen. Assets and property within a Revocable Living Trust are not subject to the same public scrutiny either, affording you and your family a higher level of privacy and security.
However, at the end of the day, the probate court will likely be involved to some extent, no matter what. The difference lies in how much the court is actually involved; for example, if you have a Living Trust, the involvement will be minimal, typically just light, easily resolved clerical issues and payment of the standard probate fee.
Are these aspects of estate planning and avoiding probate in line with your goals? Then please call us to set up a consultation with our estate planning lawyers here in the Tampa area at 813-438-8503. We’d be happy to help you create an estate plan that will allow your loved ones to quickly settle your estate in a private, efficient manner with little interference from the courts.