PROTECT YOUR ESTATE

Probate is the way your estate gets distributed to your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings and other relatives, or other people or places you have chosen. What is your estate? Do you have a home, a car, furniture and appliances, jewelry, a savings account? Everything you own is part of your estate.

After you die, it all has to go somewhere. Depending on how you set up your estate plan, some, most or all of your property may have to go through probate before it gets to your chosen heirs.
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What Does A Probate Lawyer Do?

There are a number of different tasks that probate will have to complete. Some of the most common duties a probate lawyer may have to assist an executor and beneficiaries with during the probate process includes the following:

  • Identifying and securing estate assets
  • Obtaining appraisals for the decedent’s real property
  • Assisting in the payment of bills and debts
  • Collecting proceeds from life insurance policies
  • Preparing and filing all documents required by a probate court
  • Determining if any estate or inheritance taxes are due, and making sure those debts are satisfied
  • Resolving income tax issues
  • Managing the estate checking account
  • Transferring assets in the decedent’s name to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Making a final disbursement of assets to beneficiaries after all bills and taxes have been paid

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Probate - Benjamin Law, P.A.What Assets Avoid Probate?

Not every person that passes away requires a probate. A probate is not necessary for the following types of assets:

Accounts with a named beneficiary. These accounts are often referred to as pay-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts. Financial institutions simply require a death certificate and identification to transfer these types of accounts to the named beneficiaries.

Assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. When the owner of a joint account passes away, the surviving joint owners continue to own the account by right of survivorship. A death certificate is needed to remove the deceased owner from the account. There are certain circumstances where the surviving joint owner(s) do not receive the account. This is most common when the decedent added a joint owner on the account for convenience purposes only. e.g. bill paying.

Assets held in Trust. The best way to avoid probate is to hold assets in Trust. Assets held in Trust are distributed pursuant to the terms of the Trust by the Trustee.

Assets intended to be held in Trust. Often times a decedent had a Trust but certain assets were not held in the Trust. In certain circumstances, these assets can be transferred to the Trust after the decedent’s death.

Assets with a value less than $75,000. If the value of the assets (other than real estate) is less than $75,000, the assets can pass to the heirs without a probate using a summary proceeding or affidavits.

Contact An Orlando Probate Attorney

Navigating through probate is not an easy task. It requires you to know Florida’s specific probate rules and procedures. If you are an executor or are somehow involved in a probate process, speak to an experienced attorney at Benjamin Law, P.A. to get proper legal advice. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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