Wills, Trusts, Probate
A Will is a solid foundation to any estate plan. Even the most complex plans, do not skip the Florida Will. For clients with children, one of the primary reasons to have a Will is to name guardians for your minor children.
Florida provides its residents the right to dispose of their property as they deem fit at death, but an individual can only utilize this freedom through drafting and executing a valid Will. In Florida, a Will must meet specific criteria to be effective, and every state has their own rules for executing a will. If a will is not properly executed, it can pass on the hardship of splitting up assets to family and loves ones.
What Happens When a Florida Resident Dies Without a Will?
A Florida resident that dies without a valid Will is said to die intestate, which means this person’s assets will be relegated according to Florida Statutes. Without a Will, decedents have no say over how the government distributes their loved one’s property, and it could also mean that some family would be left with nothing.
Trusts determine how your assets are managed throughout your lifetime and distributed after your death, through the instructions provided to your trustee. Not everyone needs a trust, however, there are certain situations where a trust is very beneficial in that it avoids the need for probate and can greatly reduce taxes after death. It also ensures privacy and sometimes results in quicker distribution than formal probate proceedings. A trust can also be invaluable if the grantor becomes incapacitated because the trustee can manage trust assets, pay bills and make financial decisions on the grantor’s behalf without the necessity of having the court appoint a guardian to carry out those responsibilities.
Each state creates its own laws for what happens to a resident’s assets after they pass away. The practice of probate generally exists to ensure that all the deceased’s outstanding debts have been paid, and that the deceased’s possessions are legally transferred to named heirs. The judge overseeing the probate case will review all assets your family member may have owned, which can include bank accounts, real estate holdings, investment stocks, and insurance policies, to allow creditors to collect debts, ensure taxes are paid, and determine which heirs and/or beneficiaries will receive the remaining assets
Our goal is to make the probate process as easy as possible for you. From our first virtual strategy session, we get to know you—your situation, your problems, your goals. If you allow us to handle your case, you can enjoy minimal stress while we provide:
Partial or total probate requirements. If your relative lived in Florida part-time, you may only need to file probate proceedings in Florida for a single property, bank account, or other portions of your relative’s estate. We can determine how much of the estate is required to go through probate and perform partial or full probate proceedings depending on your needs.
A smooth transfer of assets. As an efficient and results-driven law firm, we transfer ownership of real estate, bank accounts, and other holdings in order to give you the access you need as quickly and as hassle-free as possible.
Regular updates. We pride ourselves on staying in constant contact with our clients, promptly returning phone calls and emails to let you know how your case is progressing.
Litigation. If someone is contesting your loved one’s wishes, we will fight tenaciously for your interests in probate court. If you are an heir that lives outside of the state of Florida, you may not be required to travel to Florida for the probate case.