Common Myths About Probate and Wills

Common Myths About Probate and Wills

Most people do not have an in-depth knowledge of estate planning and probate law. As a result, there is a lot of misinformation related to wills and probate that can cause some confusion.

The following are a few of the most common myths we see when people come to use for estate planning services:

MYTH: If you die without a will, the state gets your property.

A will certainly provides you with more control over who inherits your assets and property, but you do not have to worry about the state claiming your property. Instead, if you die without a will, your estate follows intestate succession laws. Generally, spouses and children are the first to inherit property. Assets are only given to the state if no relatives are found. Of course, you can avoid all of this worry by creating a will.

MYTH: The probate process can last for years.

The vast majority of estates pass through probate court fairly quickly. The only situations in which the process may be extended are because of the tremendous size of an estate, family fights causing difficulties or issues with continued income generated by the estate.

MYTH: The oldest child is entitled to be the estate executor.

The owner of the estate is allowed to name whoever he or she wishes to be the executor. The executor does not even have to be a blood relative, although normally a child or spouse serves in the role. If someone dies without naming an executor, the court will determine an executor based on who is best suited for the role.

MYTH: After the expenses of probate, you’ll have little left from the estate.

Probate usually costs less than 5 percent of the estate value, and that’s only if you actually are required to go through the formal probate process. Not all estates must go through probate.

If you have further questions regarding wills and probate, speak with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.