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When someone passes away, you’ll likely experience overwhelming emotions. Unfortunately, you may find that you’ll now endure the probate process. For many, this can be even more confusing, as you’ll deal with creditors, inheritors, liquidation, asset distribution and more. However, you may have heard many probate myths in your life, leading you to think this is a dramatic and anxiety-inducing experience. Luckily, many of these myths are unfounded. Keep reading to discover the reality of these misconceptions and how a probate lawyer in Pasco County, FL can assist you with these issues.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the process in which the courts will validate the estate of a deceased person after they pass. Essentially, this means that the courts will inventory and appraise a person’s property, pay their debts and distribute the will according to the wishes left in the will.

Though many assume this process is overly complex, it does have many advantages. This helps ensure that the property of the deceased goes to authorized beneficiaries while ensuring that the affairs of the deceased are settled so their family will not have to worry about inheriting debt.

What Is the Reality Behind Probate Myths?

One of the most common myths is that people assume if they have a will, their estate won’t go through probate because there is a misconception that only intestate estates are subject to probate. Most wills do go through this process, but they help facilitate the validation and distribution of assets. While some estate planning tools, like a revocable living trust, can help you bypass probate, having a will does not automatically mean you will not go through this process.

Another myth that many perpetuate about this process is that the beneficiaries of an estate will not receive anything, as probate is expensive. While it can be costly, in many instances, Florida provides what’s known as Summary Administration for smaller estates worth less than $75,000. Essentially, this is a simplified version of probate that does not require a personal representative to be appointed to your loved one’s estate. For other estates, probate generally takes a predetermined portion of the estate, typically less than 10%

There is a myth that probate can take years, if not decades, to complete, which is completely false. For many estates, probate can only take six months. In fact, it’s rare for probate to take more than one year, which can happen, but mostly impacts complex estates.

Because there are so many myths and misconceptions about probate, you may feel overwhelmed by the process. As such, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to help you through these complex legal matters. At the Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, our dedicated legal team can help you navigate the probate process to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to discuss your circumstances.