Probate in Florida can be time-consuming, expensive, and confusing, but the right Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer can develop an estate plan for you that avoids probate and transfers your assets to your heirs – when that time arrives – quickly and cost-efficiently.
Another good reason to sidestep the probate process is its lack of privacy. Probate is a judicial procedure, so everything in a probate proceeding goes on the public record, and anyone can see the details of your finances and what your loved ones have inherited. If you value your privacy, you’ll need an estate plan that lets your estate avoid probate.
By working with the right south Florida estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your loved ones receive their full inheritance without losing a substantial amount to probate costs.
What Does a Probate Proceeding Entail?
In the probate process, a decedent’s estate pays appraiser’s fees, executor’s fees, court costs, attorneys’ fees, and other expenses. However, there are alternatives to probate that can preserve the value of your estate. Creating a revocable living trust in place of or along with a last will and testament is one such alternative.
For probate purposes, the property and assets that you transfer into a revocable living trust are no longer considered part of your estate. When it’s time, your trustee will be able to transfer your assets to your heirs without probate interference. Fort Lauderdale probate attorney Marc Brown can help you establish the revocable living trust that’s right for you and your loved ones.
In some respects, a revocable living trust is similar to a last will and testament. Both documents name the party or parties who will inherit your assets and property after you pass away, but a revocable living trust does more. It can spell out the instructions for your care if you become incapacitated, and it also allows your trustee to handle your financial affairs during a period of incapacity.
How Will a Probate Attorney Help You?
Even if you do not create a trust, giving away assets and property while you’re still alive reduces the cost of probate because the more an estate is worth, the more probate will cost. Most gifts are not subject to the federal gift tax (although you may be required to file IRS Form 706 – the gift tax form), and any assets you donate to tax-exempt charities are also exempt.
Every estate plan is different. Your own estate plan must take into consideration the value of your estate, the size of your family, and whether or not you own a business. Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer Marc Brown can help you develop an estate plan that meets your specific needs while reducing the cost of probate or avoiding it entirely.
There Is No Cost for Your First Consultation
Effective estate planning means making wise choices to ensure that your instructions are followed and that the value of your estate is protected. If you have not done so, you should understand that while it’s important to begin planning your estate right now, good estate planning doesn’t happen in a rush. There’s a lot to consider.
Attorney Marc Brown can answer your estate planning questions, help you avoid probate, and provide the estate planning services and insights you need. Contact the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Marc Brown, P.A. at 954-566-5678 to schedule your first estate planning consultation at no cost and with no obligation.