If you are a resident or property owner in the St. Petersburg area, when you pass away your death sets in motion a legal process known as probate in St. Petersburg. This process can be quite lengthy depending upon whether or not you have put your affairs in order through wills or trusts.
In order to avoid putting your family through a long drawn out probate in St. Petersburg, you should have at the very least a will. However, putting your assets into trusts that allocate funds and assets as you wish can help you avoid St. Petersburg probate altogether.
What is Probate in St. Petersburg?
Probate in St. Petersburg is the process by which a deceased person’s assets are distributed to the heirs of their estate under court supervision, and any debts owing or outstanding taxes are paid to the decedent’s creditors.
If you have a legal will in place your estate will be distributed according to your wishes as stated in the will. If you do not then your estate will be distributed according to Florida statutes.
A simple estate with a clear, uncontested will can go through probate in St. Petersburg in just a few weeks. However, there are many factors that can delay St. Petersburg probate including a lack of will, a challenge to the validity of the will, creditor claims, or a surviving spouse’s rights.
The Basics of a Standard Will
A will is a legal document that communicates your wishes for the distribution of your assets after you die. It covers both tangible assets like your house, car, and material possessions as well as intangibles such as your bank account, stocks, and insurance policies.
It names your beneficiaries and allows you to choose an executor. That is who will benefit from your assets and who will be responsible for the distribution of those assets, respectively. You can also name who you would like to care for your minor children.
While a will must still go through probate in St. Petersburg, having one makes the process much easier for your loved ones. And not having one can result in drawn-out legal battles that can take months or even years to resolve.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal relationship between three or more parties. The grantor (you), the trustee, and the beneficiary or beneficiaries if you have more than one. When you put your assets into a trust, their physical location remains the same but the estate is owned and managed by the trustee on behalf of you and the beneficiary, according to the terms you set out.
The benefit of having your assets managed by a trust is that you have access to them while you are still alive, but when you pass the trustee continues to manage them on your behalf without having to go through probate in St. Petersburg.
Consult the Law Firm of Growney, McKeown, and Barber, P.A. for Your Wills and Trusts
Navigate probate in St. Petersburg for your family with the help of the estate planning attorneys Growney, McKeown, and Barber, P.A. A family-owned and operated firm they understand you want the best for your family. For a free consultation, please call our firm today at (727) 384-3800.