You may ask, what is Probate? What is Guardianship?
Our Estate Planning attorneys at EPGD Law do not only create estate plans that handle how an estate is distributed, we actively participate in the process of distributing the assets to make sure the client’s intentions are met. The first step in this process is typically putting the will through probate. On the other hand, if you do not have a will, then your estate will still go through probate but will be subject to intestacy laws, which are default provisions for what happens with your assets when you die without a will.
Probate is the legal process by which your assets are distributed after your death.
The Probate process either happens testate, which means you have a will, or intestate, which means you do not have a will. Testate probate is usually a simpler and smoother process than intestate. Once in probate, an executor will be assigned. The executor locates all the assets, notifies the heirs and creditors, pays taxes, and distributes the assets according to the will or the Probate Court’s instruction. Simple estate probates take about six months. However, many estates go through litigation and have complex issues that can drag the probate process out over many years. Our attorneys are experienced in probating simple estates and litigating complex probate issues in our client’s best interest.
Florida also has a shorter process, known as Summary Administration, available to estates of persons who have been deceased for more than two years, or estates with a value of less than $75,000.
Guardianship is most often established for either a minor child who requires a guardian of the minor’s property, or for an incapacitated person who lacks the capacity to manage some or all of their own affairs.
If the only beneficiaries to an estate are unable to care for themselves, you may want to seek guardianship. If a person is considered totally incapacitated, they will be deprived of all of their civil and legal rights. Accordingly, the Florida Courts and Legislature strive to use the least restrictive form of guardianship or less restrictive alternatives, when they are available.