The Probate Process: How Does It Really Work?

When a family member or loved one passes away, their assets and financial responsibilities must be dealt with. Probate proves the validity of a will after death, identifies the property, pays debts and taxes and distributes the remaining assets to the heirs. The way probate law works is relatively simple. After a death, the appointed executor of the will must file papers notifying the probate court. These papers include documentation of the property, debt, and inheritance information for the deceased.

Do You Have to Go to Probate Court or Can It Be Avoided?
If the estate is worth less than $100,000 it does not typically have to go to probate court in most states. There is also a simple transfer procedure to the surviving spouse that does not have to go through probate. Probate law also allows for other ways to avoid going to court including:

Living Trust

Trust property is not considered to be part of the probate estate. A designated trustee owns the trust property and can transfer the property to family and friends as it was requested in the trust document. It is very similar to a will in the regard but does not have to be a part of probate.

Joint Ownership

When there is joint ownership of property, you can avoid probate when one of the joint owners dies. The property is simply turned over to the surviving owner without probate. There are several types of joint ownership that allow for this including joint tenancy with right of survivorship, tenancy by the entirety, and community property with right of survivorship.


Another way to avoid probate is to give away money and assets while you are still alive. If you no longer own it upon death, then the need to go to probate for it is no longer there.

Probate Law Varies from State to State
Some states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). A national group of experts wrote the probate laws for UPC. UPC creates a simple process, particularly for the smaller estates. It also allows more flexibility for the executor of the will. However, there are variances in probate law in the states that have adopted UPC.

UPC includes three different kinds of probate. These are informal, unsupervised formal, and supervised formal. Informal does not include any court dates to complete the probate process. Unsupervised formal is very similar to traditional court, and supervised formal requires the courts to fully supervise the entire probate process. There are also a number of states that do not use UPC. However, most of them still adopt parts of their probate law from UPC.

Dealing with the Probate Process
When dealing with the probate process, the best thing you and your family can do is seek the knowledgeable advice of an attorney. Whether you are planning your own estate, or you are the executor of a will, seek experienced legal counsel to help advise you on your state’s laws and procedures.

Probate Attorney

We all have aging loved ones and we want what’s best for them and their estate when they pass. It can be highly emotional and difficult following the death of an elderly loved one, but ensuring their estate and financials are in order prior to passing can make things much easier on the family. When you need to establish a will, determine next of kin or pass power of attorney on to a relative, the best thing to do is contact a West Palm Beach probate attorney who can help. Probate attorneys are skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to preparing someone’s financials for the end of their life. There are plenty of issues which can arise when someone’s will is not planned out properly so in order to avoid the confusion, hire a probate attorney in West Palm Beach today.

How Does a Probate Attorney Help?

Probate attorneys in West Palm Beach provide valuable services to families with aging relatives. Death can bring confusion, pain, grief and much more so you want to be a prepared as possible for when it actually happens. Whether your estate is large or small, a probate attorney will help get everything in order including:

• Drafting and notarizing wills
• Trust litigation
• Defense against guardianship
• Protection against exploitation of the elderly
• Stopping probate fraud

In West Palm Beach, most probate lawyers work with the elderly and their families, but anyone can draft and establish a will declaring where their assets should go following death. Creating a living will or power of attorney can help ensure that the right steps are taken regarding the elderly and their needs as they reach the twilight of their life. With the right legal assistance, exploitation and other issues can be avoided. Skilled probate attorneys are a valuable asset for anyone in West Palm Beach looking for end of life legal help for a friend or relative. Don’t hesitate to contact a probate lawyer today if you need help!

Guardianship Law

A guardian is someone with the legal responsibility to protect and manage the affairs of a loved one. Guardians provide a valuable service, particularly for minors or aging loved ones who need assistance in matters involving health and finances. People can target the elderly because they are vulnerable and easily mislead so it’s important to establish a guardian for aging relatives so they aren’t taken advantage of by dishonest people in life. When you need to establish guardianship, the first thing to do is contact a West Palm Beach guardianship law attorney who understand the process and has helped countless others in a similar situation.

What is Guardianship Law?

Not everyone is capable of making important decisions themselves and that’s why guardianship law is such an important measure to establish. Children and the elderly both can benefit from someone being named legal guardian as well as anyone who is too incapacitated to give consent. There are also different levels of guardianship so it’s important to hire the guardianship lawyer with the most experience and skill in establishing who has the power to make important decisions in the best interest of the individual.

What Can a Guardian Do?

Guardianship law can help with many different aspects of someone’s life including:
• Medical and healthcare choices
• Financial decisions
• Power of attorney
• Living and care arrangements
• Represent the individual in legal matters

Guardians have many different responsibilities and duties to perform so it’s important to hire a guardianship lawyer in West Palm Beach who understand the process and can help make the transition as smooth as possible. Even though a person is incapacitated or unable to make decisions on their own doesn’t mean that they should receive any less respect or care. A skilled lawyer knows this and will go out of their way to ensure dignity and respect are at the forefront of their services.

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

Will isn’t just a name, it’s an important legal document which outlines the passing of assets, property and financials to friends and family following someone’s death. When someone passes on, it’s not a free for all on their estate. Rather there is an important process established by state and federal law on how assets and more are passed from one generation to the next. Estate planning, wills and trusts are set up so someone gets to decide before they die where their assets are going. Reaching the end of your life without a will or living trust means that a judge, whom you’ve mostly likely never met, decides where your assets and property will go following your death. Calling a will, trusts and estate planning attorney in West Palm Beach can make life a whole lot easier on you or the people you care about in the event of the death of a loved one.

Why Do I Need Estate Planning?

Some believe estate planning to be unnecessary and something for the super wealthy, but in reality it’s an important part of growing older for just about anyone. Even if you don’t have considerable assets, you want to be sure what you do have is going to the right place following your death. Personal possessions along with property and bank accounts can all be delegated to surviving friends and family.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document established by an individual and legitimized by a probate lawyer which outlines the distribution of assets following someone’s death. A court oversees the process of ensuring a person’s wishes and all the conditions and stipulations of the will are met.

Can a Trust Help Me?

A living trust is similar to a will in that it’s used to bequeath assets to loved ones following death, but it’s different from a will in that only assets outlined in a trust can be transferred. A trust can be established while someone is alive so in the event they are incapacitated for any reason, their assets will still be protected. Call a trust, will and estate planning attorney in West Palm Beach today and learn more!