Part of having an estate plan is making it more straightforward for your loved ones to wrap up your affairs after you pass away. Although some headlines and pop culture references suggest trying to avoid probate altogether, that is not typically the best option.
Probate may seem like a daunting obstacle your personal representative and loved one will have to overcome after you pass away. Probate does not have to be cumbersome, and it is not often practical to avoid it.
Here’s what you should know about the probate process and when you (might) be able to avoid it.
The rule in Florida
Not every estate must go through probate. However, in Florida, many estates fall within the guidelines for going through either probate or summary probate.
If your estate’s value is more than $75,000, you will need to go through the regular probate process. However, if your estate is under $75,000, it may qualify for a simpler “summary administration” process.
When people talk about avoiding probate, their real goal is to help their loved ones avoid the cumbersome process. Unfortunately, going through complex steps to avoid probate can make your estate even more complicated for your loved ones to oversee. People often take actions, such as:
- Gifting all property and assets
- Changing the type of ownership interest attached to real estate
- Using trusts in ways that do not suit their needs
All of these steps can be beneficial in the right circumstances. Still, it is essential to start your estate plan by looking at the goals you want to accomplish, rather than merely avoiding probate.