Many families go through the probate process for small estates in Palm Beach, Florida. After the loss of a loved one, the heirs should understand how to navigate the probate process as well as its pros and cons.
What is probate?
Probate is a court-supervised proceeding that retitles the assets to the heirs of a decedent. The process validates the decedent’s last will, distributes the assets and ensures payment of estate debts. Probate is how deceased people pass assets to their heirs. The process depends on location since every state has different probate regulations. State titling laws, trust laws or contract laws handle assets that don’t go through probate.
What does and doesn’t go through probate court?
Some property has to go through the probate process before transferring to heirs. Assets and property that go through the probate process include household goods and cars. Some assets that don’t need the probate process include pay-on-death accounts, jointly held property, life insurance policies and all trust property.
What happens during probate?
At the first probate hearing, the petitioner may need various documents. A person should bring the last will, death certificate, names and addresses of heirs and creditor information.
Cost and length of probate
Probate can take months or years depending on the case’s complexity. Hearings are typically set three to five months after the filing date. The costs of probates are between 5% to 10% of the estate. The legal fees and administrative costs can be as much as 20% of the estate:
• The first $100,000 is 4%, and the next $100,000 is another 3%.
• The next $800,000 is another 2%.
• The next $9 million is another 1%, and the next $15 million is another .5%.
Other fees come up during the probate process as well. Probate can be expensive, time-consuming and public. Individuals in Florida may want to create estate pans to allow assets to pass down outside of the probate process by making a revocable living trust. Titling property and adding beneficiaries to retirement accounts are options too.