The word “PROBATE” often instills fear in the unknowing beneficiary. Yes it is true that probate can be costly, as there are often substantial costs involved. These costs include filing fees, postage, service and publication fees.
Further, in the majority of cases, a Personal Representative is required to retain legal counsel to represent him or her, which can pose a substantial cost to the estate. Due to these factors, it is common and recommended that individuals consult with qualified legal counsel to discuss implementing an estate plan to avoid probate.
By initiating a probate proceeding you limit the timeframe in which creditors have to file claims in the estate, ensure court involvement and supervision in carrying out the decedent’s testamentary intent and limit the timeframe in which disinherited beneficiaries have to contest the decedent’s Will. Further, the probate process assures that the estate debts, taxes and expenses are timely and properly paid.
Regardless of whether a probate is required, Florida law requires the possessor of the decedent’s original Will to file it with the court within ten days of the decedent’s death. This is often a rule that is overlooked and can cause the accrual of unnecessary fees and costs if not complied with.
Even though you will not be around to witness what occurs after your death, it is important to understand the process. Check our Frequently Asked Questions to get a better understanding of the probate process.