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Worried About Probate? Four Tips to Make Probate Go More Smoothly

Mon Feb 28, 2022 | Probate |

Probate gets a bad rap, and perhaps it’s understandable. When problems arise during probate, the process can become time-consuming and drawn out. While many people choose to avoid probate by creating a trust, sometimes a simple will is the best option. If you are considering a will, however, there are things you can do to ensure that probate will proceed as smoothly as possible for those you leave behind. A Boca Raton probate attorney can help you create many of the problems that people encounter in the probate process. 

1. Create a Valid Will That Complies with Florida Law

Whether drafting your own will or using a template you found online, your will may be deemed invalid if it doesn’t comply with Florida’s requirements. In that situation, your estate will still have to go through probate, but your assets will be distributed according to Florida’s intestate succession law. Working with a Boca Raton probate attorney ensures that your will is valid and an investment in your peace of mind. 

2. Choose the Right Personal Representative

Sometimes referred to as the executor or administrator, the personal representative plays an important role in the administration of your estate. They must file the appropriate paperwork with the probate court, and they have a fiduciary duty to ensure that assets are distributed appropriately and that taxes, debts, and other claims are timely paid. For some people, this can become quickly overwhelming, resulting in delays and the loss of valuable estate assets. When deciding who should be your personal representative, you need someone who you and your heirs can rely upon to fully discharge their responsibilities. A Boca Raton probate attorney can help you choose the right person to serve as your personal representative, and even assist them when the time comes. 

3. Treat All Family Members Fairly

Excluding certain family members or giving preference to some over others is a very common source of estate disputes. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your heirs should be treated equally, you do need to proceed carefully. An experienced Boca Raton probate attorney can help you structure your will to hopefully minimize any family disputes. 

4. Keep Your Estate Documents Updated

Estate planning is a life-long process, but we understand that people get busy and forget to update their wills to reflect their life’s changes. Divorce, remarriage, the birth of grandchildren, retirement, or other changes can drastically affect what happens to your estate when you die. An outdated will can lead to conflict, and self-drafted amendments or updates can create considerable confusion. Forming a long-term relationship with a Boca Raton probate attorney can ensure that your documents are up to date and ready to be acted on when the time comes. 

Contact a Boca Raton Probate Attorney at Ellis Law Group 

You don’t have to fear the probate process. As a full-service estate planning law firm, we have the knowledge and experience to help you get through the probate process effectively. To discuss your needs and how we can help, contact us today at 561-910-7500 to schedule a consultation.