Adults of all ages should create a will along with a comprehensive estate plan. For people entering the retirement stage of life, having peace of mind concerning where your assets will be distributed after you are gone and that your loved ones will have the financial support they need is invaluable. For younger couples, it’s important to consider who the guardian of your children would be if something unexpected happened. There are many reasons why you should contact a Tampa will and probate attorney today.
Experienced Tampa Wills and Probate Lawyers
A will is a legal document that defines your last wishes. An authorized will can establish the executor of the estate, appoint a guardian for underaged children, transfer property to a beneficiary, among many other essential tasks. Our Tampa wills and probate lawyers have extensive experience drafting wills and can help you establish several critical end-of-life instructions.
What is Probate?
Without a will, or in some cases even with a will, the decedent’s estate must go through a state-regulated, legal process known as probate court. The probate court essentially controls the decedent’s sole assets and can govern where these assets should be distributed. This includes enforcing payment to creditors, appointing an executor of the estate, deciding what beneficiary is rewarded what assets, and even naming a legal guardian for underaged children. Probate court takes months if not years to be resolved and the court fees can be extremely expensive.
What Assets Pass Through Probate?
Depending on the decedent’s estate, without a will, any assets solely owned by the decedent would pass through the probate process. Typically, this includes property (home, timeshares), cars, and even could include personal bank accounts or retirement funds. However, if the decedent was married and had joint-owned assets like bonds, trusts, retirement accounts, life insurance, or any valid transfer-on-death documents (real estate deeds, banking funds), these assets would not be included in the probate process. When you partner with a Tampa will and probate attorney, they can develop an estate plan on your behalf to ensure all assets are protected from probate court.
Ways to Avoid Probate Court
Although our attorneys can help navigate clients through probate court, it’s best to create an estate plan that secures the assets for your family that you worked hard for. We can help your estate avoid probate court by creating a living trust for family members and ensure all of your assets are protected. We can even help you create a succession plan for your business with our comprehensive estate and succession planning services.
If you would like to speak with one of our Tampa wills and probate lawyers, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.