If you use a will to leave your estate to your loved ones, everything you own will pass through probate. The process can be costly, time-consuming and information is available to the public.
The probate court is in control of the process until the estate has been settled and distributed, a process which could take weeks or months.
Those who are married and have children will want to ensure surviving family members have immediate access to cash to pay for living expenses while the estate is settled.
With proper estate planning, your assets can pass on to your loved ones without undergoing probate, in a manner that is quick, inexpensive and private.
For those whose estate planning includes a will or trust, an executor or trustee must be appointed to manage your legal matters after your death. This person has a legal responsibility to administer your affairs in accordance with the terms of your legal documents and also in accordance with the laws of the state. If you live in The Villages® community, Lady Lake, Summerfield, Oxford, Fruitland Park, Wildwood, Bushnell, Leesburg or surrounding areas, you should have an executor or trustee who lives in Florida. We will be happy to discuss this with you and to look at your documents to determine if they’re up-to-date.
Typically, the person you appoint will be responsible for paying off final bills, preparing accountings, appraising and valuing estate assets, collecting debts owed to the estate, filing tax returns, maintaining reports for beneficiaries and, of course, distributing assets to the beneficiaries you have chosen.
Handling a loved-one’s estate or trust can be daunting. Executors and trustees have a number of fiduciary duties which, if breached, can lead to problems within the family as well as legal liability. Sometimes, having an independent professional involved in the process, or corporate trustee makes sense.
Talking to one of BCN Law Firm’s experienced probate and estate planning attorneys early in the process, and completing estate planning in advance, will help provide you with peace-of-mind that your wishes will be carried out.