Many people don’t know what probate means, why it can be a problem, or how to avoid it successfully. Probate is a legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die. It helps transfer assets and property to new owners. An appointed representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they will work through the distribution of personal property, money, and real property and pay debts existing at the time of death.
If a person dies intestate (without a will), property is distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws and the legislature’s best guess of what most people would want to be done with their property after they die.
Why Many People Avoid Probate in Georgia and Florida
- Probate is a public court procedure, and some people prefer the terms of their estate to be private.
- Probate allows heirs to challenge or contest the will. This can lead to family disputes that lengthen the process.
- Probate is time-consuming. For more complex estates, it can last for months or years.
- Probate can become costly due to required court appearances and paperwork, especially with a will contest.
Revocable Living Trusts Don’t Go Through Probate
The revocable living trust is an estate planning tool to manage assets and property. The property is transferred to the trust during your lifetime. You choose someone to act as a trustee to manage the trust property and distributions after your death. There is no need to involve the court, so it remains private. Due to detailed instructions regarding your assets and beneficiaries, the process is much more efficient and can settle quickly.
Other ways to avoid probate include:
- Joint ownership of assets with your future beneficiaries. Ownership automatically transfers to the joint owner.
- Payment on death accounts (POD) name a person who will receive assets in your account when you die.
- Transfer on death (TOD) names a person who automatically receives the title or deed to real estate or a car after you pass away.
Our probate and estate administration services at Moody Law Firm, LLC help your loved ones by guiding them through the overwhelming court process. Instead of struggling with fees and paperwork, your family is free to grieve and begin to move on.
Trust settlement services ensure that your wishes are carried out according to your estate plan, bypassing probate and the state’s interpretation of your wishes. Creating a revocable living trust minimizes the difficulty your loved ones face after you are gone. It may be one of the greatest gifts you give to your family.
At Moody Law Firm, LLC, Walt Moody understands your concerns from personal experience and is driven to help you protect assets, reduce estate taxes, avoid probate, or settle an estate successfully. Having been seriously injured in a car crash in college, Walt understands the importance of being prepared for life-changing events. He applies this knowledge to the areas of elder law and estate planning when helping clients with emotional and complex issues, such as establishing trusts to provide for a special needs child or disabled loved one. Contact us to learn more about estate planning tools and for support and guidance with federal, Georgia, and Florida state laws.
Trust us to put our vast resources and experience to work for you! Secure your future by contacting us today!