Broward County probate attorney can guide you through the difficult process

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. The complexity and duration of probate depends upon whether the decedent had a will or not. The process includes:

  • proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid,
  • identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property,
  • having the property appraised,
  • paying debts and taxes, and
  • distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there’s no will) directs.

Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers. The lawyers and court fees are paid from estate property, which are a priority expense payable from the estate assets.

If a will exists, it will specify a person to be the Personal Representative who is given the legal responsibility to take care of the deceased person’s remaining financial obligations. This means taking care of everything from disposing of property to paying bills and taxes. If there is no will, a Personal Representative (or administrator) will be appointed by a judge, and usually is the closest capable relative or person inheriting the bulk of the deceased person’s assets.

The Representative files papers in the local probate court, proves the validity of the will and presents the court with lists of the decedent’s property, debts, and heirs.  Relatives and creditors are then officially notified of your death.

Alternatives to Formal Probate

Probate can benefit beneficiaries, although there are associated costs, and the process will require time.Probate makes sense if the estate has complicated problems, such as many debts that can’t easily be paid from the remaining property.

The trauma of dealing with the death of a parent, sibling, or spouse is a reality that we will all face at some point in our lives. The emotional angst is often exacerbated by the legal issues death often brings. Dealing with insurance companies, locating and reading the will, and coming up with a fair process are a few of the draining but necessary things to handle. Add in money, assets, investments, and contentious family members, and it is no wonder that many families are overwhelmed by this life event. Looming over it all is the specter of probate, a process that few people understand but is crucial in the tying up of your loved ones’ affairs.

You may be able to reduce the complexity of probate with proper knowledge and planning. First, you start by understanding which assets bypass the probate process, and which ones are included in it.

Some assets that bypass probate are:

  • Life insurance
  • Pension plans
  • IRAs
  • Personal annuities
  • Buy/sell agreements

Any and all assets, such as homes, investment accounts, boats, cash, jewelry, and other assets owned by a single person (usually a surviving spouse or single person), must pass through probate. That is, unless you set up a trust which can reduce the complexity and simplify .Setting up a trust allows your heirs to comply with less formality than the formal probate process. Skipping over portions of the probate process saves your heirs time, money, and retains your privacy and their privacy. However, it can be very complicated and confusing, so consulting with an attorney like Carpenter & Brown, who has years of experience dealing with these issues, can definitely resolve your questions and provide peace of mind.

Contact Carpenter & Brown in Broward Countytoday to learn more about how they can help you with probate or to set up a trust.

With over 40 years of experience, Carpenter & Brown can assist you with the cumbersome legal process that the probate process entails.They can also help you set up a trust if you want to relieve your heirs from going through the process upon your demise. Call us today at (954) 771-1850 or visit our website to learn more about how we can assist you.