Wills are perhaps the most common and well-known form of estate plan. A valid will allows a person to designate how his or her estate is distributed and otherwise managed upon his or her death. In most circumstances, a person who creates a will can feel secure in knowing that the will’s instructions will be honored. On the other hand, a person who passes away without a will runs the risk of a court or other estate administrator making decisions that do not reflect the person’s wishes and intentions. Unfortunately, the failure to create a will can lead to disputes between family members, and even to expensive lawsuits and the ruining of relationships.
Probate is the court-supervised process of gathering a deceased person’s assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors. The best thing you can do for your family is to make arrangements for how your property and money will be distributed. There are generally two options for this: a will and a trust. It’s important to have a basic understanding of the probate process to make sure your assets are allocated in a way that honors your wishes. Every will goes through probate, which is the court-supervised process of sorting and administering a person’s will. In the event that there isn’t a will, the probate court will distribute property and assets according to the applicable laws of each state.
Call (850) 434-8000 or email us to request a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.