St. Petersburg Probate Attorney
Planning for the time after your death is always uncomfortable. However, it is also one of the most valuable and most loving things you can do for your family. Estate planning can also benefit you during your lifetime, as you can appoint someone to make difficult decisions on your behalf in case you are ever unable to do so in the future. Our St. Petersburg probate attorney can further explain the intestacy laws and probate procedure in Florida.
Florida’s Intestacy Laws
If you pass away without a will in place, you are legally considered to have died ‘intestate.’ This does not mean that your estate is owned by the state. It only means that your property will be divided according to the intestacy laws of the state. Creating a will ensures that your assets are divided according to your wishes and not state law.
For example, Florida’s intestacy laws stipulate that if you are married, all of your property is passed to your spouse, even if you have children with your partner. Creating a will can allow you to name your children as beneficiaries, so they can receive the inheritance you intended to leave them.
Understanding the Probate Process in Florida
Probate is a court procedure during which a judge will administer your estate according to state law, or the will that you had executed during your lifetime. The will is submitted to the court and other people, typically members of the same family, have an opportunity to contest it if there is valid reason to do so.
If you did not have a will or did not name a personal representative in your estate plan, a probate judge will appoint one. The personal representative has a very important role. They will gather and distribute your property, and notify your creditors of the death. Creditors can then make a claim against your estate if debt is still owed to them.
Not all estates must go through the probate process. For example, any property held in a trust does not usually go through probate. Many people want to help their loved ones avoid probate. The process can be long, taking anywhere between six and twelve months. It can also be very expensive, particularly for larger and more complex estates. On the other hand, if you can utilize trusts and other tools that can help your loved ones avoid probate, they can receive any inheritance you left for them much more quickly.
Call Our Probate Attorney in St. Petersburg for Sound Legal Advice
The probate process is one many people wish to avoid but still, sometimes it is necessary. David Toback is a St. Petersburg probate attorney who can answer your questions, guide you through the process, and make it as easy as possible on your family during this difficult time. Call us now at 813-252-7529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to obtain the sound legal advice you need so you can make informed decisions and understand how to move forward.