Most Florida parents want to make difficult situations easier for their children and other loved ones if they can. One way to help family members handle the loss of a parent is to ensure that clear instructions have been left behind regarding how to settle the remaining estate. Some parents may want to go a step further and avoid the probate process altogether, but they may not always know how to properly do that.
In some cases, individuals may believe that having a will can result in their surviving loved ones not having to probate the estate. However, that is not the case. While a will is certainly an important document to have in an estate plan, other documents and measures are needed if avoiding probate is a true goal. For example, creating a trust and having assets placed into that trust could help avoid probate because assets in an irrevocable trust no longer belong to the estate.
Creating a trust is not the only way to work toward an easier transition of assets either. Certain assets may be jointly owned with another party, and if one owner passes away, the other owner will take over the entirety of the asset, especially if the asset had rights to survivorship terms. Additionally, assets that allow for direct transfer of assets, such as payable-on-death or transferable-on-death accounts, can result in funds passing directly to named beneficiaries without having to go through probate first.
Avoiding the probate process could save surviving loved ones time and money when settling the remaining estate. However, preparation for that avoidance must be made in advance and in the correct manner. If Florida residents create a will thinking that it will allow their loved ones to receive their assets more quickly, that misunderstanding could leave family members in a difficult position.