How to Avoid Probate Litigation

The ownership of some assets can make them exempt from probate, and other estate planning techniques can also keep property out of probate court. If you have questions about your estate plan or about avoiding probate, contact us to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney for straightforward solutions that will work for you.

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How to Avoid Probate Litigation

While you cannot keep relatives from fighting after your death, there are several tools you can use during your lifetime to help your estate avoid probate. Speak with an attorney from Burandt, Adamski & Feichthaler, PL in Cape Coral, FL, so that you can make the most of your estate plan.

Proper Estate Planning Is Essential

The primary way to avoid probate litigation is to plan early and plan carefully. No strategy can guarantee that your heirs or beneficiaries won't end up in litigation. However, careful planning can help to ensure that your wishes will be carried out to the fullest extent possible.

Avoid Probate and You Can Help Deter Probate Litigation

One way to deter probate litigation is to create an estate plan that allows most if not all of your estate to bypass probate. To create such a plan, work with a lawyer to implement tools engineered specifically to keep your property and assets out of the jurisdiction of the probate court. Some of these vehicles include:

  • Trusts
  • Joint tenancies with rights of survivorship (for assets including real estate and bank accounts)
  • Beneficiary designations (for assets including insurance policies and retirement benefits)

These tools create rights in designated people that can be acted upon without having to go through the probate process. The probate court does not have to approve or validate these instruments as it would a will. For example, when two people own a house in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship and one of the owners dies, the property is not included in the decedent's probate estate. Instead, the surviving owner becomes the sole owner. However, these types of probate avoidance tools may not be the best fit for every type of estate. It is important to discuss them with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about their advantages and disadvantages.

Save Your Family the Cost and Stress of Litigation

If you cannot avoid probate by using the tools described above, then a carefully drafted will may save your family and beneficiaries from the cost and stress of having to go through the litigation process. Dealing with the death of a loved one is stressful enough without the addition of litigation.

Your estate plan should include a determination of who will get what. To simplify the process, you might want to document a complete inventory of all of your assets and properties. It is not necessary that you have a plan prepared before you consult an attorney. The benefit of speaking with an attorney is to make sure that every issue is considered and accounted for in your plan.

An important matter to keep in mind during your estate planning is ensuring your loved ones are aware of your wishes. Probate litigation can arise out of confusion or concern that what you put down on paper was not truly what you wanted. Full and frank disclosure with your loved ones may help prevent later challenges to your will.

You Cannot Predict the Future

All of the planning in the world cannot guarantee that your estate will avoid litigation. A relative might dispute the validity of your will. A creditor might contest the rights of your beneficiaries under alternative trusts and contracts. But proper planning and avoidance strategies that you and your attorney devise can go a long way to protect your estate, family and beneficiaries from the cost, emotion and hassle of probate litigation.

Consult a probate attorney

If you are contemplating ways to avoid probate litigation, contact an attorney experienced in probate and estate planning at Burandt, Adamski & Feichthaler, PL in Cape Coral, FL, to discuss your options.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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