I recorded this interview with Stephanie Cook of The Law Office of Shuffield Lowman – Attorneys and Advisors to talk about ways to avoid the probate process all together. We focused our attention on the tools that are available to make end of life decisions easier for individuals and their families. I have listed the simplified questions and answers below* but the interview goes into more detail. If you have additional probate and/or estate planning questions, I would suggest reaching out to Stephanie, she is a great resource.
Shuffield Lowman – Attorneys and Advisors
407 581 9800
As always, if you need help selling a home that is currently in probate or that you have inherited, it would be my team’s honor to help you and your family successfully navigate the sales process.
Sincerely – Mark Ramey
What are some ways can you avoid the probate process?
Ways to avoid the probate process include placing beneficiary designations on financial accounts and creation and funding a trust.
How can parents minimize conflict if they are incapacitated or after they pass away?
Parents can potentially minimize conflict between their children by having estate planning documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate and Pre-Need Guardian designation during their life and a Will and/or Trust that clearly sets forth who is in charge of their affairs, and outlines their wishes. It also helps if parents carefully consider whether they should make siblings Co-Fiduciaries, because if they are not in agreement then they will potentially end up in court. For example, if one child who is a fiduciary wants to sell a piece of real property, and the other sibling does not want to sell it.
Should you have a living will?
It is a good idea to have a Living Will as it provides your heirs and loved ones with your specific desires as it relates to whether you want life sustaining measures when you are in a certain condition. If there are no advance directives, then there can be great conflict between the family on how to proceed, and the loved ones can end up in court.
What does a healthcare surrogate do?
A health care surrogate makes medical decisions for someone as set forth in the document. Said document will outline when it is effective and the person’s wishes.
What are the benefits of having a trust?
It can be a tool to avoid probate if property is titled in the trust, or the trust is a beneficiary. It can also allow you to place restrictions on when distributions are made and provide for a more seamless transition upon your death to the new trustee. This can be particularly helpful if the trust owns multiple pieces of real property and/or business interests.
What is the benefit of having a pre-need guardian?
The execution of a Pre-Need Guardian creates a rebuttable presumption that if a guardianship is needed then the person you selected will be guardian as long as they are qualified as set forth Florida Statutes.
*The answers to these questions may vary depending on each specific situation. The responses should not be construed as providing legal advice. If you need legal advice you should set up a consultation with an attorney.