352.372.1011Gainesville, FL



Serving Clients in Gainesville and Throughout North Central Florida

Many people don't understand the Florida probate process because they don't deal with the issue until it is thrust on them by the death of a parent or loved one. Clients often relate to me their horror stories about probate, reminiscent of Dickens' Bleak House, and tell me that their first goal is to avoid probate.

Avoiding Probate Should not Necessarily be the Goal of Estate Planning

Probate is nothing but a court-supervised process to ensure an orderly distribution of a deceased person's assets to creditors and beneficiaries. It is a common misconception that avoiding probate is a paramount objective. However, probate serves a number of purposes and needn't be cumbersome or expensive if properly planned for in advance.

Some of the advantages of probate include:

  • The court protects the interests of all parties. Absent probate, "you're on your own" in distributing estate assets, and if they are improperly or prematurely distributed, the person responsible for the distribution may be exposed to personal liability.
  • Disputes over asset ownership and distribution are settled under court supervision.
  • Creditors of a decedent are assured a fair share in the process, so long as they follow the rules.

Probate does not have to be a long, burdensome process. If you live in north central Florida and are facing end-of-life issues with an elderly parent or grandparent in the region, schedule a consultation with White, Crouch & Mills, P.A., Estate Planning Law Firm, in Gainesville.

For Some Families, A Living Trust May Be The Right Strategy

Nevertheless, depending upon your family's specific goals and circumstances, there may be times when avoiding probate is a good legal strategy.

Some disadvantages of probate include:

  • It does involve the court, and in a functional family many times court supervision is not necessary.
  • Sometimes a certain degree of control is sacrificed.
  • It usually involves additional expenses, although they need not be burdensome.
  • The decedent's will becomes a matter of public record.

A revocable trust is the vehicle of choice to avoid probate, as it allows you to place certain of your assets in the hands of a trustee (who can be you) so that you no longer "own" them at your death. They are owned by the trust, not you; and therefore they are not subject to probate.

Complete Probate Services ยท In Most Cases Under Six Months

We also provide estate administration services to help people who have been named personal representative of an estate. We are knowledgeable, efficient lawyers who will work diligently to move the process through the Florida probate courts as cost-effectively as possible.

We can handle all of your issues, including:

  • Satisfying estate taxes
  • Final income tax filing
  • Estate property valuation
  • Dealing with creditors
  • Assistance and legal counsel for the family or personal representative

Gainesville Estate Administration Attorneys

From our office in Gainesville, the estate planning firm of White, Crouch & Mills, P.A. advises and represents clients in communities throughout Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Putnam County, Clay County, Bradford County, Union County and Gilchrist County in North Central Florida. Call us at 352-372-1011 or contact the firm by email to arrange an initial consultation with us today.

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| Phone: 352-372-1011

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