Frequently Asked Questions: Estate Planning And Probate

Tallahassee residents and past clients often come to us with questions when they start thinking about the future. At Hathaway Sprague Law, P.A., we understand that end-of-life conversations are difficult and emotional. We bring compassion, understanding and skilled legal advice to every client we work with. We take pride in helping clients fully understand their options and what their decisions for future arrangements will truly mean for them.

When Should I Start Estate Planning?

We recommend that you start planning for the future as early as possible. Many people first decide to start their estate plans when they marry, gain large assets or complex estates, near retirement, or face a serious injury or illness. This can be essential since your estate plan can include your medical directives and medical power of attorney decisions.

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?

An experienced and skilled estate planning attorney typically charges within the $1,500-$2,500 range for a full plan, including a will and trust. Due to the nature of estate planning being custom-crafted to your specific needs and created specifically to replace Florida's default laws, it takes time and investment. In the end, your investment will ensure your wishes are protected, save your loved ones money in the probate process and help your family avoid financial issues that often arise without a will in place.

Why Is Probate Necessary?

The legal system utilizes probate to transfer assets from a deceased person to their beneficiaries. This law has been in place in Florida since 1845 to help conclude the affairs of a deceased individual.

What Is The Best Method For Avoiding Probate?

In Florida, some laws allow you to minimize the probate process by creating a will. Keeping a will updated and valid throughout your life is essential. You can sometimes avoid probate with carefully crafted trusts, deeds, beneficiary designations on certain assets.

Who Inherits When A Family Member Dies Without A Will?

The surviving spouse will inherit all assets if there is no will and no descendants. If there are living descendants who are not children of both the decedent and the surviving spouse, the court will likely split all assets 50-50 between the spouse and children. If there is no surviving spouse and no children, then Florida's laws of intestacy provide that the property goes to parents if they are alive, and if not, the decedent's siblings, or nieces and nephews. A lawyer can help you understand who would inherit.

Call Our Tallahassee Office At 850-391-2884

You may also call toll-free at 888-858-5404 to speak with estate planning and probate attorney Kathryn Hathaway. You can also email us using the contact form on our website.

We are conveniently located just north of downtown Tallahassee on 4th Avenue between Duval and Monroe, and we help clients from across the Florida Panhandle.