Why do I need to avoid probate?
Probate is the court-supervised legal process of identifying assets of a deceased person, paying their debts, and transferring their property to the beneficiaries.
Consider the following reasons why you would want to avoid probate:
How Can You Avoid Probate?
How can I have an estate plan that cannot be challenged?
In Florida, no-contest clauses in wills are unenforceable. This means that a beneficiary (or any interested person) can contest the contents of a will, making proper estate planning even more crucial.
Below are some steps you can take to help prevent issues with your estate.
Is guardianship always expensive?
The costs associated with guardianship are different in every case. Court costs vary depending on the type of guardianship involved and attorney fees also vary depending on the complexity of the case. These costs are generally reimbursed by the ward (the legally incapacitated individual), provided that they have the assets or income to do so. The ward’s health insurance may also help pay for some medical expenses. It may even cover expenses associated with the examining committee and initial determination of incapacity. If the ward is deemed indigent, the state may also pay fees associated with guardianship.
A knowledgeable and experienced guardianship attorney can help you understand the potential costs and whether some of those expenses may be covered by someone else.
My loved one can’t take care of themselves anymore. What do I do?
Realizing that a parent or loved one can no longer take care of themselves can be difficult. Unfortunately, many adults may be hesitant or unwilling to admit they need help. If your loved one can no longer make rational decisions regarding their health care or finances, it may be necessary to seek legal guardianship. Guardianship is needed when the incapacitated person does not have a proper power of attorney or health care directives in place.
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which the court appoints a guardian to exercise the rights of the incapacitated person. This includes making personal, financial, and medical decisions on their behalf. A guardian will only be appointed after a medical evaluation and determination that the individual lacks capacity in some or all areas of their life to make informed decisions.
Any Florida resident, at least 18 years old, whether related to the incapacitated person or not, may serve as the guardian. Certain relatives that are not Florida residents may also serve as the guardian. However, no person who has been convicted of a felony or is incapable of discharging the duties of a guardian may be appointed.
In some unfortunate situations, guardianship may be the only way to ensure your loved one is safe and cared for, both physically and financially.