Administration of Estates and Probate
In Florida, administering probate can be a relatively simple procedure. Courts are not involved in the administration of approximately 90% of estates.
We assist both professional fiduciaries acting as personal representatives and family members acting as personal representatives of a family member’s probate estate at Summerfield Law Group. The probate procedure entails collecting the decedent’s assets, inventorying them, paying for the decedent’s final illness and funeral costs, paying creditor claims, distributing the estate’s residual assets to the beneficiaries, creating an accounting, and concluding the probate case. In cases when beneficiaries are concerned that the personal representative may not be handling their loved one’s probate estate appropriately, we can represent them.
Florida Representation of Clients from Out of State
If a relative who lived in Florida just passed away and you reside in another state, our firm can offer you the legal assistance you require. We frequently represent out-of-state clients who have issues with Florida probate administration in probate litigation proceedings. We correspond with clients living outside our state by phone, fax, email, and, if necessary, overnight delivery services. In light of any time restrictions, we may be under, we communicate with our clients using the most affordable means possible. We want our out-of-state customers to avoid traveling to Florida unless they voluntarily do so or a hearing is scheduled at which they must personally appear. We routinely seek that parties be permitted to participate in proceedings by telephone.
A Realistic, Economic Approach
Our skilled, highly qualified paralegals handle most of the regular probate administration procedures. As the attorney assigned to the case oversees and analyzes the work of our paralegals, this strategy reduces expenses without compromising the caliber of legal services offered. Our paralegals have worked in probate administration for years and have real-world experience. Our clients express their appreciation for our ongoing efforts to keep our prices as reasonable as feasible and how much they enjoy working with our friendly paralegals.
Tips For Managing Probate
Acting as executor of an estate (also called “personal representative” in some states) doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task if you’re organized.
The Executor or “manager” of the estate is legally responsible for protecting the assets of the decedent or deceased until the probate process is completed and assets are disbursed.
Acting in good faith won’t get you in trouble if the assets in the estate drop in value (with investments, for example), but you could be found liable if you allow assets to be tampered with before the probate process is complete or you sell off assets at fire-sale prices to raise cash.
It’s important to know that if you are unable or unwilling to serve as executor, you can refuse, and the contingent executor will step in, or the court will name a new one.
State probate and tax laws vary, but if you set up a checklist and seek appropriate tax and legal advice, settling an estate can be orderly.
These twelve tips will keep you on track.
- Who is the personal representative or executor?
- Locate the Will, if there is one.
- Contact medical professionals and any other businesses that the decedent saw regularly.
- Secure and protect all property.
- Identify all bank accounts.
- Find statements for investment accounts, life insurance, pension, and annuities.
- Put a hold on all credit cards, debit cards, and online shopping accounts.
- Obtain twelve original death certificates.
- Obtain a “Paid in Full” funeral or cremation receipt.
- Arrange for the post office to forward mail.
- Contact a CPA to file the decedent’s final tax return.
- Contact Summerfield Law Office to assist with the estate.