Have you heard that probate in Florida may be lengthy and even expensive? Are you concerned about that ? Do you want your family to avoid the experience of probate when you pass away? There are several tools you can put in place to avoid probate, but there may be mistakes made which could make these tools ineffective. We would like to share three common mistakes we see in our office when someone tries to avoid probate.

1. First mistake. You create only a last will and testament. Mistakenly, people think that by having only a last will and testament they will be able to avoid probate. Having a last will and testament is very important and you should have one! That being said, your will is not a tool that alone can accomplish your goal of avoiding probate. With only a last will and testament your estate will go through the probate process.

2. Second mistake. You forget to update your trust. A good estate planning tool that many individuals use to avoid probate is a revocable trust. By having a properly structured trust, all your assets will probably pass outside of the probate process. Unfortunately, however, and this is where the mistake is made, people commonly forget to update their trust. When you first create your trust, you put all your assets in your trust. Now as life goes on, you sell your assets and acquire new assets and either forget or delay putting your newly acquired assets into your trust. This is very critical for you to remember, the assets that are not placed in your trust will likely be subject to probate proceedings.

3. Third mistake. Only relying on your trust. You may have assets at the end of your life that do not get placed in your trust. Not making provision for these assets is a mistake many make. By creating a pour-over will, your remaining assets that can be probated at the time of your death will pour over into your trust.

As you can see, there is a great deal of value in establishing a last will and testament and a properly structured trust. If one of your goals is to avoid Florida probate, we highly recommend that you make an appointment with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney to help ensure that an effective plan is put in place to accomplish your goal.

At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.