Probate and Estate Planning

Probate is the process of distributing and conveying assets in the probate estate of a deceased person (decedent) to his or her heirs.  The probate estate consists of all assets that were owned solely by the decedent, that are not subject to an exemption.  Types of assets include, without limitation, real estate, bank accounts, investments, automobiles and personal property.

Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process, depending on the type and amount of assets in the probate estate.  Supervised by the court, the formal probate process can tie up assets for more than a year.  In some instances, a summary administration procedure may be used, but such procedure is limited to smaller estates, or estates where the decedent died at least two years prior to the administration.  The decedent’s debts, personal representative fees, probate attorney’s fees and court costs are all paid by the estate before any remaining assets are transferred to the heirs.

The probate and estate planning attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander can help you create an estate plan that will avoid or minimize the need for probate using certain estate planning mechanisms, including:

  • Enhanced Life Estate Deeds
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Transfer on death (TOD) accounts
  • Payable on death (POD) accounts
  • Lifetime gifting

Consult the Tampa Probate and Estate Planning Attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander

Many people believe that having a will eliminates the need for probate.  Although a will can serve many estate planning goals, avoiding probate is not one of them.  Our experienced probate and estate planning attorneys can show you how you can leave your assets to your chosen beneficiaries while minimizing or eliminating the expense and delay involved in probate proceedings.