When a relative passes, immediate reactions can be emotionally overwhelming. Thoughts of things like estates and assets are often secondary when you lose a loved one. The unfortunate reality is that when a loved one passes, their assets and finances have to pass through a process known as probate.
What is Probate Law?
Probate denotes the court-supervised process of identifying and dispersing the assets of a deceased person. Before the assets are disbursed to beneficiaries, the decedent's accounts are settled - meaning the assets can be liquidated to go toward paying off any debts the descendant left behind.
If there is a will, the probate proceedings will be altered to its stipulations. Having the counsel of an experienced probate attorney, you can determine which path to take. Whether to go through the court-supervised process or the non-court supervised administration called “Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.”
What assets are not included in probate.
Certain assets are not included in probate proceedings such as:
Joint Tenancy Property
Living Trust Assets
If assets have not been designated or included in a trust and you believe they should have been, or that they were included at one point, then hiring a probate attorney will be necessary to establish which assets are rightfully under probate and which are not.
Family Rights to Probate Assets.
Taking something to remember your deceased loved one is a common practice for surviving family members; like your grandmother’s brooch or your grandfather’s pocket watch. But when the decedent leaves behind any real property, money, and other high-value assets, taking something to remember them by isn’t so simple.
Surviving family members may be entitled to receive probate assets from the decedent’s probate estate, even if they were not mentioned in the will. These can be up to 30 percent of all assets including those not included in probate.
In some cases, if there is a will and one or more family members have been left out of the will, those individuals may still be entitled to the deceased’s assets. However, to pursue this you will need the services of an experienced probate attorney who understands probate law and how to work toward a resolution.
Living Trusts and Probate.
A living trust is the arrangement of one person, called the trustee, to have legal title to the property of another person, the beneficiary. When you own living trusts, you retain full control over all property and assets held in that trust.
The main advantage of creating a living trust is to spare your family the expense and time of the probate process and court mediation. However, the state of Florida uses the Uniform Probate Code which makes the probate process simpler. Determining if a living trust is the best way to protect your assets, consult with an experienced probate attorney in your area.
When it comes to putting your family assets back together, I will treat you and your family with respect and compassion. You can expect attentive, personalized service through every step of the probate process. Let me help sort through what your loved one has left behind for you. Call me today.
PROBATE ATTORNEY SERVING BRADENTON, FLORIDA
Whether you have lost someone close to you or someone you didn’t know that well, putting finances and inheritance in order can be complicated. Don’t let this process drain your energy and emotional reserves. Let me help you get everything sorted so you can focus on moving forward. Call me for help today and put my experience to work for you.