Though Americans are living longer than ever, one downside is that more and more people are living with dementia in their final years. Dementia robs us of our memory, reasoning and dignity in many cases.
Once again, we have the story of the estate of a beloved celebrity becoming the subject of litigation. Just a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the battle between Robin Williams’ wife and children over the terms of his trust. High-profile cases like this one show that, when a decedent leaves behind a large estate, the chances of a contest in probate court may be higher than for the average estate.
It may surprise some readers, but under Florida law, not every important piece of property goes through probate. Some things that you think of as part of your estate plan are not subject to probate, which may affect how you and your attorney craft your plan and adjust it as time goes on.
The more assets you have, the more complicated it may be to figure out how to distribute your stuff after you pass away. Even a deeply considered and carefully prepared estate plan cannot prevent all possible disputes between beneficiaries during probate.
Once you have set out the terms of your estate plan, an important next step is to pick the executor of your estate. This is an important job. The executor performs many tasks once the testator passes away. He or she identifies and manages the decedent's assets, tracks down beneficiaries, distributes assets according to the terms of the will, make sure that the will is executed properly according to the law, and so on.