After you die, your estate plan will dictate how to distribute your assets. For this to occur, your estate will go through the probate process.
According to the Florida Courts, probate is a process overseen by the court system that involves identifying all of a deceased person’s assets, gathering them and then distributing them. Although this is a standard legal process, you may want to avoid having your estate go through probate.
Reasons people try to avoid probate
There are several common reasons why people try to avoid the probate process. For example, it can take several weeks or even several months for the probate court to finalize a person’s estate. There are also certain expenses associated with the probate process, and what happens in probate court goes onto the public record.
How to avoid probate
There are several steps you can take to prevent your estate from going through the probate process. For instance, you can distribute your assets while you are still alive, instead of including them in your estate plan, or you can add a joint owner to your assets.
Another strategy you can use is to put your assets into a living trust. Living trusts do not undergo the probate process because a trustee maintains control over the property within the trust. After your death, your trustee must distribute this property according to the terms included in your trust agreement.
Avoiding probate may be beneficial depending on the goals you have for your estate plan. Regularly review your estate plan to make sure that it complements your wishes and the assets in your estate.