When is Probate Necessary?
If you have done research on estate planning or spoken to an attorney about planning for the future, you may have heard that it is sometimes best to avoid probate. Probate is the process of proving and validating a decedent’s last will. In the event that there is no will, it determines that inheritance is passed on according to Florida law.
Avoiding probate can save money, save time and protect privacy. Lastly, having your case opened in court makes your inheritance public record. On the other hand, if there is any doubt about who is to inherit what part of a decedent’s estate or if there are large or many debts that the decedent left behind, probate offers a more efficient and economical way to resolve those issues than resorting to the courts in any other way.
Regardless, in some cases probate is unavoidable. Consider the following types of scenarios in which probate is necessary:
- Assets owned as tenants-in-common — When a deceased tenant-in-common owns property in his or her individual name, the probate process is necessary in order to transfer such property to the surviving beneficiaries.
- No will exists — Without a valid last will and testament, intestacy succession laws found in the Florida Probate Code determine who inherits the property of the deceased.
- A will exists — If a will does exist, probate may be necessary to distribute the decedent’s assets and to designate a personal representative.
When it comes to estate planning, every case is different. If you have recently lost a loved one in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, consult an attorney who can review your case and determine the most effective way to approach probate. Furthermore, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you plan for the future so that your loved ones can enjoy your legacy and avoid unnecessary fees.