Busted! Four Common Myths About Probate

To many, probate is a mystery. There are so many myths and misconceptions about this process being touted as fact that it can be really difficult to distinguish the truth from the lies. Unfortunately, we’ve seen situations time and time again where misunderstandings regarding the probate process cause people to make damaging decisions during the estate planning process. Today we’re busting four of the most common myths so that you can make better informed decisions. 

Myth #1: Estates With Wills Do Not Go Through Probate

A surprising number of people are under the impression that if you have a will, your estate will not need to go through probate at all, automatically. Generally speaking, most homeowner’s will have to go through the probate process, even though they have a Will, unless they have done some estate planning.  Good estate planning can help certain assets stay out of the Probate Court system. For instance, you can use a trust if you want certain assets to pass to your beneficiaries out of probate.

Myth #2: Probate is Prohibitively Expensive

It is true that there are some fees and costs associated with probate and that the longer it goes on, the more expensive it will become. However, it is not as if probate will indiscriminately leave your estate drained as so many people seem to believe. If there are no disputes, the fees will usually be reasonable and proportionate to the size of the estate. 

Myth #3: Probate Takes Years and Years

This only happens in extremely unusual circumstances. While it is not impossible that your estate will get tied up for a long time, it is much more likely that probate will be resolved in less than a year as long as long as there are no disputes. Red flags for a time consuming probate process include debts, complicated taxes, and family disputes.

Myth #4: Your Oldest Child is Always Your Personal Representative 

In fact, you can choose anyone you would like to be your personal representative, as long as they agree to perform the duties this entails. While many select their oldest child, you can choose any family member or friend (if they live in FL), or even your bank or CPA (again, if they live in FL). 

It is important to think about probate when you’re making your estate plan, and not to make any incorrect assumptions about what it entails. The team at ElDeiry & ElDeiry, P.A. can help you create an informed estate plan and can also represent you in the probate process. Contact us today to learn more about these services. We can’t wait to connect with you. 

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