How To Avoid Probate Court In Fort Myers

Dealing with probate can be a long and frustrating process. In our latest post, learn how to avoid probate court in Fort Myers!

Nobody wants to have to go through the probate process. By planning ahead, people are able to avoid probate, giving their families the peace of mind they need when dealing with a sad and difficult situation.

Why Avoid Probate?

Avoiding probate in Fort Myers is desirable for several reasons. Foremost are the expenses involved. Legal representation, property valuation, court fees, and executor compensation can quickly accumulate. Frequently, executors may forego their fees to uphold fairness within the family. Moreover, probate proceedings often prove lengthy, requiring meticulous asset and heir documentation along with requisite notifications. Settlement of debts precedes inheritance distribution to beneficiaries. Overall, navigating probate is a hassle best avoided whenever possible.

Using A Trust

A person can set up a trust to ensure their assets will not be subject to the probate process. By setting up a revocable living trust a person can ensure items contained therein will not be subject to the probate process. The trust will need to be set up while the person is of sound mind and able to decide for themselves what will go into the trust. The trust can be thought of like a bucket, all assets the individual wants to place in the trust will then be set aside and managed accordingly.

Joint Ownership

When individuals purchase a home jointly, they have the option to establish a joint ownership agreement, often with the right of survivorship. This means that upon the death of one owner, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner, bypassing probate. Setting up this arrangement during the property purchase is crucial, as adding someone to the deed afterward can incur expenses.

Designations

Many times when setting up a bank account or life insurance policy, you will assign a beneficiary. By doing this, these items will not be subject to the probate process. A few states will allow you to create a transfer-on-death certificate for real estate you own, transferring the property after you die. Be sure that you keep your beneficiary designations up to date. Many people fail to make these changes after a divorce or after someone passes. This can lead to your ex getting everything or the asset having to go through the probate process.

Giving It All Away

Prior to your passing, you can proactively transfer the bulk of your assets to family members or other beneficiaries. By no longer owning these assets at the time of your death, they bypass the probate process. Numerous assets, particularly those valued at $11,000 or less, can be gifted without incurring any federal tax penalties. You’re allowed to gift this amount to an individual once per year, effectively reducing the value of assets subject to probate.

Smaller Estates

In certain states, it can be easier to avoid probate if the person passing away has only a small estate. To be considered small, the amount of the estate will vary based on where you live.

It can be very beneficial for heirs to avoid the probate process in Fort Myers. Between the fees, costs, and stress, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. If you want to learn more about how to avoid probate in Fort Myers, reach out to us today!

Contact us to learn more about how to avoid probate court in Fort Myers!

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