What are the Advantages of Avoiding Probate in Florida?
Probate is a court-supervised legal process that involves identifying and gathering the assets and debts of a deceased person for the purposes of settling their estate. In Florida, a will must go through probate. When possible, many people look for opportunities to avoid probate. Of course, this raises an important question: Why? What are the benefits of avoiding probate? Here, our experienced Tampa estate planning lawyers explain the three major drawbacks of the probate process.
- Probate Can Be Slow
Perhaps the single biggest drawback of probate is that it can be extremely time-consuming. Probate is controlled by the courts, and unfortunately, the courts in Florida often move at a glacial pace. It regularly takes more than a year for a will to make it all of the way through probate. In fact, according to data provided by EstateExec, it takes an average of 16 months to settle an estate in the United States — with many larger estates taking significantly longer than that. If someone decides to contest a will, which will often lead to probate litigation, the process can grind to a halt.
- Probate Can Be Costly
Another drawback of probate is that it can be expensive. Depending on the specific nature of the case, probate fees can take up a considerable percentage of the value of the estate. In most circumstances, avoiding probate is the more cost effective option. Though, certainly, this is an issue that must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Still, if you can avoid probate, you can likely save some money.
- Probate is a Public Process
Finally, it is also worth noting that the probate process is part of the public record. While this is not a major drawback for everyone, many people want to keep their privacy. By avoiding probate, you can use other estate planning tools that allow you and your family to retain complete privacy over the process and your assets.
Other Estate Planning Options are Available
How do you avoid probate in Florida? It depends on the specific nature of the estate. Though, in many cases, the most straightforward way to avoid probate is by setting a revocable living trust. Widely considered to be one of the most effective and useful estate planning tools, a revocable living trust can be used to pass assets to one’s heirs. When set up properly, a revocable living trust allows a person to avoid probate, retain full control over their assets during the remainder of their life, and keep full privacy over their estate.
Speak to Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our skilled Florida estate planning lawyers always take the time to get to know the goals, needs, and desires of our clients. To set up a confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm right away. From our office in Tampa, we serve clients in communities throughout Hillsborough County, including in Plant City, Tempe Terrace, Thonotosassa, Valrico, and Apollo Beach.