Probate and wills – to many people, these each sound like completely foreign concepts. If you are one of the many Americans who don’t have a solid grasp on all the relevant legalese, know that you are not alone. But rather than staying in the dark about such an important topic, keep reading to discover some of the most common myths and misconceptions about probate.
The State Gets Everything If There Is No Will
This is perhaps the most common misconception of them all – if you pass away without leaving a will behind, the state is going to collect and benefit from all your assets. While it is true that state law will come into play to determine how the will should be followed, this does not mean that the government is first in line to inherent your assets. In most cases, your spouse and children will be chosen as inheritors for just about everything you have. The state is only going to become an inheritor when you have no living relatives, and even then it is not a guarantee.
Probate Will Take Years
The time it takes to get an estate through probate varies, depending on how much needs to be sorted out and the number of unforeseen complications. Yes, this could be a while, especially if there is a delay period for creditors to make claims on assets, but no, it is not guaranteed to take years. One of the best ways to ensure your probate process goes as quickly as possible is to retain the help of a professional attorney as soon as you need to start handling the estate.
Costs Are Going to Go Through the Roof
No one likes to hear that they are going to have to dip into their own savings for legal fees, so the rumor about expensive probate already had traction before it hit the ground. However, if the estate you are dealing with is quite small, probate costs could be reduced through shortcuts. A smart tip is to find a lawyer who offers free consultations and see if you can get an idea of how much their services and probate could feasibly cost.
Leaving Nothing Behind for Your Spouse
If you do not want to leave any inheritance for your spouse, you might think that creating a will settles that matter, but you should think again. In many circumstances, your surviving spouse will have the legal opportunity to take portions of your estate after you pass away, even if you had intentionally left them nothing. This is sometimes called “taking against the will” and may be avoided with the help of an estate planning specialist and certain waivers.
The bottom line is that if you are going to have to sort through the probate process, you shouldn’t do it alone. There are so many myths and misconceptions about probate out there, you might become frustrated trying to sort the truth from the lies, and lose sight of what really needs to happen for the process to be completed. If you need help from a Fort Myers attorney, be sure to contact Your Advocates today. Our attorneys have years of collective experience helping the people of Florida with the probate process, and we are standing by to support you. Call 239.970.6844 today.