Not having a valid will in place can significantly lengthen the probate court process in Florida, costing your loved ones both time and money.
Probate is the process of settling the estate of someone who passed away. Even if you do not have significant amounts of property or assets, they will still have to pass through Florida probate court proceedings before they can be distributed to your heirs. Having a valid will in place plays an important role in estate planning as it dictates your wishes in regard to these matters and reduces the amount of time probate takes.
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How Not Having a Will Complicates Probate Court Proceedings
According to statistics from the American Association of Retired People (AARP), more than half of all adults do not have a legally valid will in place. Regardless of your age, income, or the amount of assets you possess, creating a will with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney should be a top priority. In addition to conveying your final wishes, it helps to speed up the amount of time it takes to pass through probate court proceedings.
Probate is the legal process for settling an estate. Your will acts as a guide through these proceedings, accomplishing the following:
- Names someone to act as your personal representative;
- Provides a detailed inventory of your property and assets;
- Details how creditors should be paid and lists any debts you may be owed;
- Designates heirs to your estate and how property and assets should be distributed among them.
There are certain processes that must be followed in settling an estate. Without having a will as a guide, the legal process is more complicated and can take significantly longer.
The Amount of Time it May Take to Settle Your Probate Court Case
For residents of Boca Raton, a will is filed with the Palm Beach County Probate Court by your estate administrator at the time of your death. Dying without a will is known as dying intestate.
Areas it is likely to impact include:
- Appointing your personal administrator: With a will, this can be accomplished quickly and at a single hearing. Without one, it can take weeks or even months for someone to be appointed.
- Obtaining an estate inventory: Without a will as a guide, the process of identifying all your assets will likely take longer.
- Settling estate debts: Creditors typically have three months to file a claim. With the court overseeing this process, it can take up to six months.
- Filing final tax returns: Typically, this can take up to nine months. Without a will, this may be extended up to a year and a half.
- Distributing property: Without a will naming beneficiaries, it takes longer to identify legal heirs and disputes are more common.
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Schedule a Consultation with Our Boca Raton Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At Ged Lawyers, LLP., we can help you put a will in place, protecting your loved ones from time-consuming and costly probate court proceedings. To schedule a consultation, contact our Boca Raton estate planning attorneys today.
Call or text (561) 995-1966 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form