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HOW CAN I AVOID PROBATE?

Why avoid probate? Recently I have been asked this question numerous times and I thought it would make a good blog topic.

Probate is an expensive and intrusive court process that is needed if an individual dies with assets in their own name or if jointly owned, both individuals pass away. Probate court can be avoided by doing a proper estate plan, but why do some people choose not to do it? Fears, money, time; these are all things that stop us. So why do it?

Doing your estate planning is a part of taking responsibility for your life, assets, and loved ones. At Ally Glaser PA, I create holistic estate plans that allow my clients to state their goals, visions, and wishes today while they are alive and well. The advantage to estate planning is yes, if done properly, you can avoid probate; but estate planning allows you to have a say in your health care, your burial or cremation, your legacy, your pets, your children, and your loved one’s future even after you are gone.

Estate planning is the process where an Estate Planning attorney assists an individual or couple in protecting their assets and loved ones during their lifetime; while avoiding probate and saving them money, wasted time, and worry surrounding their death or incapacity.

At Ally Glaser, PA, we do holistic estate planning and we also handle probate and trust administration matters with care and concern for the loved ones left behind. We are happy to help you during these difficult times and decisions.

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ESTATE PLANNING IS MORE THAN JUST A SET OF DOCUMENTS

Is Estate Planning more than just a set of documents? Yes, estate planning  documents are important , but just the beginning of the estate planning process.

Does anyone know your passwords? Do you have kids, pets, or loved ones dependent on you for financial support? Are your beneficiary designations up to date? Do you have a safe deposit box or a safe in the house? Do you have businesses or investment real estate? Do you have multiple homes in different states or countries? Do you have specific gifts, a personal items list, or a letter that you would like to leave to be read upon your death? This is all estate planning.

Estate planning is the process where an estate planning attorney assists an individual or couple in protecting their assets during their lifetime in case they become incapacitated and protects their loved ones, saving them both money and time, upon their death.

Does anyone know exactly when he or she will die? No, I have heard so many stories of young people dying. For example, I have dealt with probates where a young woman in her forties died leaving a teenage daughter after she choked suddenly. Another probate case involved a married man in his forties, who died of a brain cancer leaving two small children and a wife behind.

Probate is an expensive and intrusive court process that is needed if an individual dies with assets in their own name or if jointly owned, both individuals pass away. Probate court can be avoided by doing a proper estate plan. At Ally Glaser, PA, we do estate planning and also handle probate and trust administration matters. We are happy to help you during these difficult times.

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ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, AND TRUST IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

When doing estate planning and thinking about probate, do I designate a person who I trust and know well as my personal representative and trustee or do I choose a corporate personal representative or trustee?

A corporate personal representative or trustee is someone appointed from a bank or financial institution that is familiar with the obligations and fiduciary responsibilities that come with being the personal representative or trustee. A friend or loved one is a good choice also as they know you well and can carry out your wishes as if you were still here. A friend or loved one who is responsible and willing will also be less expensive then a corporate trustee or personal representative.

Whomever you choose, that person will be required to work with an attorney to carry out the intentions of the documents. While choosing the right person as your personal representative or trustee is important, the probate attorney or trust administration attorney is even more important.

Probate and trust administration can be complicated and it is good to have a probate attorney with experience. Ally Glaser has the experience and knowledge to get you through your probate or trust administration process in the least amount of time.

Probate can be avoided by doing a proper estate plan. At Ally Glaser, PA, we do estate planning and also handle probate and trust administration matters. We are happy to help you during these difficult times.

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DO I NEED TO GO TO PROBATE COURT?

When a loved one dies do I need a probate (probate court)? Do I need a probate with summary administration? Do I need a probate with formal administration? Do I need a probate with ancillary administration?

A probate with summary administration can be done with assets less than $75,000. These days, probate with summary administration is less common as the court much prefers the more in depth formal administration. Also, banks, financial institutions, and some real estate attorneys prefer the Letters of Administration and Orders Appointing Personal Representative that you get when doing a probate with formal administration.

A probate with ancillary administration uses the original certified documents from another country or state’s completed or ongoing probate as a basis for your probate here in Florida. Whichever probate you choose, an attorney can help you decide which type of probate is ultimately best for you.

Probate and trust administration can be complicated and it is good to have a probate attorney with experience. Ally Glaser has the experience and knowledge to get you through your probate or trust administration process in the least amount of time.

Probate can be avoided by doing a proper estate plan. At Ally Glaser, PA, we do estate planning and also handle probate and trust administration matters. We are happy to help you during these difficult times.

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I LOST MY LOVED ONE, HOW DO I PREPARE FOR PROBATE?

When someone dies with assets in their own name and there is no paid on death beneficiary, the probate process is required. Probate is a court process where an attorney represents the personal representative and assists with the collection and distribution of assets.

The first step for a personal representative is to order death certificates, find the will and/or trust, and gather information regarding the assets. The gathering of information includes finding any deeds listing the decedent as the owner and finding any investments or bank accounts. Once these documents are being sorted through, a probate attorney can be hired to assist in this process.

Probate is a complicated process and requires a probate attorney with experience. Ally Glaser has the experience and knowledge to get you through your probate process in the least amount of time. The amount of time a probate takes is determined by a number of factors. If the decedent died less than two years ago, a notice to creditors must be filed with the probate court and this notice must be published in the local newspapers at least twice, giving creditors the next three months to come forward and make a claim against the estate. If more then two years have passed since the decedent’s death, the notice to creditors is not required and thus, the probate case can move along much quicker in the probate court system.

Probate can be avoided by doing a proper estate plan. At Ally Glaser, PA, we do estate planning and also handle probate and trust administration matters. We are happy to help you during these difficult times.

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DO I NEED ESTATE PLANNING?

Estate planning is the process where an estate planning attorney assists an individual or couple in protecting their assets during their lifetime in case they become incapacitated and upon their death.

Estate planning is a complicated process and requires an attorney with experience in estate planning. Ally Glaser has the experience and a psychology and law degree to assist you in this sensitive time.

Whether you have small children, grown children, a business, or loved ones to protect, estate planning is a great tool. Before you begin your estate plan and meet with an estate planning attorney, it is helpful to prepare a list of your assets and describe how they are owned. For example, your house, bank accounts, investments, and even business interests, vacation homes or investment properties.

The next step to estate planning is the initial meeting with an estate planning attorney. At the meeting, you will share your list and describe your vision for your loved ones and your assets. Your estate planning attorney will then describe the documents you may need. Some of these may be health care documents, a limited or durable power of attorney, a pour over will, and a revocable trust.

A revocable trust is a great estate planning tool and if done properly with an experienced estate planning attorney, can avoid probate. Probate is the long and complicated court process that is needed if an individual dies with assets in their own name or if jointly owned, both individuals pass away.

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DO I NEED A PROBATE ATTORNEY?

Probate is the court process required when someone dies with assets in their own name and there is no paid on death beneficiary, for example, on a bank account.
Probate is a complicated process and requires a probate attorney with experience. Ally Glaser has the experience and knowledge to get you through your probate process in the least amount of time required.

There are many types of probate, but the most common is a formal administration. A probate attorney creates the documents to open the probate and then a personal representative signs them to open the estate. A personal representative is appointed either because the decedent’s will appoints them, or because they are the closest next of kin.

An intestate probate is one without a will, where a testate probate means the decedent died with a will. It is always the best choice while living to do an entire estate plan including a trust and with proper funding, avoid probate altogether. This avoids the costs and complications of the probate court.

If estate planning including a trust has not been done, then a probate is needed to sort through assets and a probate attorney is needed to collect and distribute these assets. Even with a good estate plan, I have seen probates with just one asset that was left out of the trust. In this case, even with only one asset a probate is still needed to collect and distribute that one asset.

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DO I NEED A REVOCABLE TRUST?

A Revocable Trust is a great estate planning tool that can assist individuals whether married, single, living together, kids or no kids in sheltering their assets in the case of death or disability, and even prevents guardianship, if done correctly.

A Revocable Trust is only effective if funded properly. Think of a trust as a large grocery bag and instead of groceries, it is filled with your re-titled assets; for example, real estate, investments, and bank accounts.

A revocable trust can be changed at any time and allows the individual to plan now and change it as they grow. A good attorney is required to achieve a good estate plan.
It is a good idea to create the trust with an attorney in your area where you live most of the time and have most of your assets. So if you are mostly in Miami Beach, Florida that would be a good place to start looking for the right attorney for your estate plan creation.

A couple living together but not married, will benefit from estate planning whether they hold assets separately or together. In fact, all couples married or living together benefit by having individual trusts that protect both of them in the case of death, disability, or divorce.

A single person may also do estate planning to ensure their property goes to the right people at death and guardianship is avoided. Estate planning is important for everyone, but especially for single people with children or many assets.

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PARENTS WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18 YRS OF AGE

The New Year is here and we all have resolutions. Some of mine are exercise often, take more vacations, eat more veggies, drink more water, enjoy a good work /life balance and be the best person I can be as an attorney, mother, wife, and friend.

For my clients and future clients, what are your resolutions? Maybe it is to get your estate planning documents in order or maybe starting small, it’s time to start thinking about these kinds of things.

If you are a parent of young children under 18 years of age, do you have a list of emergency contacts on your refrigerator or on a board up in your kitchen or somewhere super visible? Who should a babysitter or nanny call if you do not come home? It’s a good idea to include your pediatrician’s phone number and important medical information that may be needed.
If you are married, divorced, or a single parent, who should care for your children if you can’t? If you died suddenly, how would life look for them? Where would they live? Of course, this would all be horrible, but a well thought out estate plan along with personal letters that include pictures written by the parents themselves can really help ease the pain and confusion.