Individuals who create their estate plans should take all possible steps to shorten or even eliminate the need for probate. There are a few ways of achieving this goal. From the outset, you can take steps to create testamentary documents that allow for the transfer of assets outside the traditional probate process. It may also be possible to have your heirs apply for summary administration if your estate contains a small amount of assets or the decedent has passed over two years ago.
A lawyer can provide guidance to people forming their estate plans and to potential heirs regarding how to avoid probate in Coral Gables. An effective plan can help heirs receive property quicker after a person’s death or even allow for the transfer of property earlier than that time.
Florida Law Allows for a Summary Administration for Small Estates
It is difficult to avoid probate altogether, since it functions as a way to protect the legal rights of heirs and creditors after a person passes away. As a result, the Probate Court has the power to authenticate wills, appoint executors, and determine the property rights of heirs.
Probate has a reputation as being a long and expensive process, so it is understandable to want to avoid having to go through it. One option for estates with a limited value is to petition the court to start summary administration.
According to Florida Statute § 735.201, this may be an option when an estate has $75,000 or less in assets, or when a person has been deceased for more than two years. A successful summary probate administration petition will allow a decedent’s heirs to directly inherit their property according to the terms of the decedent’s will or intestacy laws. This is one way for individuals in Coral Gables to avoid formal probate.
Transferring Assets Through Other Means
One main function of probate is to determine the property rights of heirs to assets belonging to the decedent’s estate. It is possible to shorten this process by eliminating or lowering the amount of estate assets.
Modern estate planning options offer individuals a way to transfer assets to heirs before their death. The most common option for this is a trust that allows for a tax-free transfer at any point in the future. Many people use these as alternatives to a last will and testament that goes into effect when they die. Others use them to lower their current tax liability. In either event, property that sits in a trust will not flow through the probate process after the trust maker’s death.
This means that an estate may fall below the $75,000 threshold for summary administration. It may also serve to move assets that eliminates potential disputes over what a person intended to happen to their estate. A common factor that complicates many probate cases is disputes over the authenticity of wills and the property rights of heirs. By moving property into a trust prior to a person’s death, that individual can eliminate all potential debates concerning the intent.
Contact a Coral Gables Attorney Today to Learn How to Avoid Probate
It is difficult to avoid probate after a person’s death. However, there are steps that you can take when forming your estate plan that can help limit how long it takes or how complicated it becomes. One option is to use alternative forms of estate planning, like trusts, that allow for the transfer of assets outside of probate. This could help your heirs successfully apply for summary administration that will shorten the process.
Please contact The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm to discover more about how to avoid probate in Coral Gables. We can apply our years of experience to suggest plans that benefit your heirs in the future and that allow for the quicker transfer of property after your death.