Estate Planning Attorneys Assisting Jacksonville Families with Probate Matters
Probate court dramatically affects how your estate is handled after death. It can also be the difference from a quick and easy settlement to a drawn out, costly legal process.
Probate court, however, has received a bad reputation when it really should not. While it can be a bad experience for some, other estates go through probate without issue.
Therefore, to decide if probate court is right for your estate, you must assess the pros and cons; rather than only focus on one or the other.
What is Probate Court?
Probate court is a legal process that oversees the administration of the will. A judge ensures all assets are accounted for, taxes and bills are satisfied, and that beneficiaries receive their inheritance in accordance with the deceased’s last will.
Not all estates go through probate court. For example, estates with a trust may not be subjected to probate court, especially if all the estate’s assets are held by that trust. When you create an estate plan, your attorney can tell you whether your estate is subject to probate. If you wish to forgo the process, your lawyer can draft a plan that does so.
The Pros of Probate Court
Small estates benefit from the probate court because there are little assets and debts to manage. Therefore, the process is relatively quickly for these smaller-sized estates.
Also, those who die without a will, known as intestate, need probate. Probate court ensures that assets are properly distributed even without a will and that all debts are paid before closing out the estate.
For those who cannot afford estate planning, probate is there to ensure their estate is administered. Also, the probate process is important for those who want the estate a matter of public record. All wills that go through probate are a matter of public record, and the information becomes public after the estate is administered.
The Cons of Probate Court
Even a small, simple estate might see time and unlimited resources drain through probate. Also, probate is lengthy, which means loved ones will not receive their inheritances right away.
Family members coping with the loss of a loved one might not want to sit through endless meetings with attorneys and attend court hearings just to finalize their loved one’s estate.
Also, the legal process of probate court is costly. Therefore, the estate may have to liquidate assets to pay these legal costs, which could easily take up to ten percent of the estate’s property. In some cases, the estate is so small that very little is left to give to loved ones.
An Attorney Can Help Avoid Probate or Prepare for Probate
Only you can decide if probate court is right for your estate and your loved ones. However, you can work alongside an attorney for insight into which process might be easier, then create an estate plan that helps the transition go as smooth as possible for your loved ones.
To explore your options, meet with an estate planning attorney from Beller & Bustamante, P.L. today. Schedule your consultation now by calling our offices at 904-288-4414 or request information online through our law firm contact form.