Law Firm of Michael W. Porter 727-327-7600
• Probate Avoidance – Through the proper use of beneficiary designations and correct titles to your assets, it may be possible for you to meet the goals of your estate plan and also avoid probate. The reason why so many people try to avoid probate is to avoid the legal fees, court costs and delays associated with the Probate process, saving their estate the expense of paying from three to six percent of their assets.
A Probate Administration is required any time a person dies leaving assets titled in their name alone, without any beneficiary designated. The way to avoid probate is to try to prevent having assets titled in your name alone unless said assets have beneficiaries named to receive the assets in the event of your death. This may be accomplished through joint ownership, "ITF", "ATF" or beneficiary designation on each of your accounts. It is also possible to avoid probate using a Living Trust, by titling all of your assets into your name as the Trustee of your Trust.
It is also important to remember to name an alternate or contingent beneficiary when naming beneficiaries on your accounts.
The use of joint ownership and beneficiary designations are an important part of any estate plan, and should be reviewed with your attorney.