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Florida residents may wish to know more about estate probate

When Florida residents create their estate plans, a main concern may be making the estate distribution process easier for their families after their demise. They may want to determine who should be entitled to what assets, how funds and accounts should be distributed, and whether or not their estate could potentially avoid probate. There are certain steps that could be taken so surviving loved ones do not have to go through probate, but in order to take those steps, individuals may want to better understand the process itself.

If an individual leaves behind an estate worth $100,000 or more, it is likely that his or her estate will need to go through probate. However, this amount does not include property that was put into trusts, transferred to another individual or certain accounts that have beneficiaries, such as life insurance or retirement accounts. Some individuals may think that creating a will can help in avoiding probate, but that is not necessarily the case.

Having a will can make the division process easier if beneficiaries have been named, but the estate could still go through probate. The probate process could potentially be a lengthy endeavor, and at a minimum, the proceedings could take months. Because the procedure can be time consuming, surviving loved ones could also face considerable financial upheavals in fees associated with the process. 

Leaving a burden behind for surviving family members can be a worry for many individuals. If they would like to avoid probate, they may wish to consider transferring their assets into trusts that could potentially protect property from needing to go through the court process. Interested Florida residents may wish to consult with an experienced attorney who can assist them in creating an estate plan that meets their needs and wishes.

Source:, "Chris Jones: A Primer on Probate Can Help Clear Up Common Estate Misconceptions", Chris Jones, Oct. 11, 2015

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