A lot of people come to estate planning attorneys in Florida because they are worried that if they don’t have an estate plan, their families will have to wait a long time to receive their inheritance because of the bureaucratic nightmare that is probate. While many of the fears about probate are overblown, there is some truth to these concerns, and creating an estate plan that avoids probate is almost always a good idea.
Yet, it’s important to point out that Florida probate courts don’t only get involved in your life after you have died and left behind property. A probate court can also get involved while you are still alive. When this happens, people often referred to it as “living” probate. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Let’s say you’re injured and lose your ability to communicate. Who would look after your interests in such a situation? Your spouse? Your parents? Sometimes it isn’t clear, and when someone in Florida becomes legally incapacitated, a court has to appoint someone as that person’s guardian. A guardian is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated adult.
Like the regular probate process, living probate can be costly and time-consuming. But just as your estate plan can prepare your estate for your death, you can also plan ahead for the possibility that you might become incapacitated. A complete estate plan will allow you to choose who makes decisions for you.