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Proper estate planning can reduce the risk of probate

When you create a last will or estate plan, there are probably two main motivating factors. The first is that you want to ensure that your loved ones have the financial support they need. The second is creating a meaningful estate by leaving specific instructions about how your assets should get distributed. In some cases, that could involve leaving money to charities, creating a scholarship or donating land for public use.

An attorney can give you advice and help take steps to ensure the proper execution of your will in the future. From naming an executor to having each version of the will witnessed at signing, your attorney can take steps to establish the legal validity of your last will and protect your wishes from getting undermined by the courts because of a dispute. If your last will does have to go through probate court, careful estate planning and the use of legal entities like trusts can help ensure that your instructions are followed as closely as possible.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of probate court

Working with an experienced Florida estate and probate court is critical to the process of creating a valid will. Your attorney can also help protect your last wishes against complete nullification in the case of a contestation. Creating a living trust that protects a pet or even a special needs trust for a specific child or grandchild can help ensure that certain aspects of your estate are handled as you see fit. For larger estates, trusts can also offer tax benefits.

The biggest source of probate court issues is generally the expectations of the heirs. Some may get upset if anyone outside of the family inherits, while others may feel entitled to a certain portion of assets or particular asset that carried emotional value. It's important to be up front with your heirs about your intentions. You don't have to quote amounts or given any specifics, but telling them that a portion of your assets is being set aside for a sick friend or a new wing on the library can reduce the risk of heirs contesting your will.

You can also speak with your heirs about what, if any assets they would like to receive from your estate. Collectibles, vacation homes and works of art from your home could have a special value to certain people. Including those emotionally valuable assets in your estate plan can help your heirs feel grateful rather than entitled.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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