J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

Why should Winter Park residents think about avoiding probate?

Probate is a term often thrown around when discussing estate administration, but what does it mean? Probate, in terms of estate administration, is the process in which a person's assets are transferred out of their ownership and into the ownership of the appropriate heir(s). Several estate administration tools are available to shorten the probate process and get a loved one's asset into the possession of the deserving person or parties. Usually, these issues come to light after a person passes away, but they can be arranged before that day comes.

To arrange a shorter probate, there are a few things one can do. One big step is to arrange a will to detail what will happen with one's assets once they pass on. Wills can set out for certain accounts or assets to reside with specific family members. It can determine who will be the executor, or overseer of the will. One can even set up a living will that allows for different terms while a person is alive and when they pass away, if a person sees fit.

If a person fails to make these arrangements, it's possible one's estate could stay in probate longer than necessary. This could cost loved ones, or the estate itself, additional legal fees or other related expenses. It can cause headaches and unnecessary stress for those involved. Take out the uncertainty of probate by arranging an estate administration plan.

It can seem weird to think about choices that will be made once you or a loved one has passed on. However, it can be a really selfless decision to hammer out these details for loved ones. It also allows one to make decision about how their estate is handled after their death. Many have specific goals they would like to accomplish with their estate after their deaths.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Avoiding the Probate Process," Accessed April 24, 2017

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