Probate Frequently Asked Questions

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Probate is a complex process that covers many legal matters involving the transfer of wealth. Our attorneys do their best to answer questions our clients have and direct them towards the best options concerning probate. We have included some of our most commonly asked questions below and also have a playlist of videos with many more answers to additional elder law questions online too. 

Q. What Is Probate?


Probate is the judicial process of transferring assets from a decedent’s name to their heirs. That often happens through the court process by hiring an attorney to represent the executor to make sure they carry out their duties. The issue for probate is typically how are assets titled. If assets are left in the person’s name alone when they pass away, those are typically the assets that need to go through a court proceeding such as probate.

Q. What Should I Do To Prepare For Seeing A Probate Attorney?


See if you can locate the last will and testament for the loved one because as the custodian of the will you need to file that within the first ten days after the date of death. In addition, you want to bring records of bank accounts, any assets that are owned, and income for the attorney to look at. Also bring names, addresses and contact information for any of the beneficiaries of the estate.

Q. What other probate avoiding techniques are there in addition to living trusts?


One way is to have accounts jointly owned with rights of survivorship where if something happens to you, it passes to the other owners on the account. The issue with that is you may be exposing yourself to liability. For instance, if you have your son’s name on the account as a joint owner and he gets in a  car accident, an attorney might be trying to sue your assets as well because his name is on your account. Comparatively, payable on death or transfer on death type accounts enable you to have the asset in your name with no other joint owner but it will allow the asset to pass to the beneficiary if something happens to you.

Q. On average how much does probate cost?


It depends on the complexity of the estate and what needs to occur in the probate process. A good rule of thumb is that over a certain amount, typically for the estate, it’s about 3%, is what the attorney would be owed and that’s found in the Florida statutes.

Jason Penrod
Author: Jason Penrod