PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION
Guiding Florida Clients Through The Probate Process
When a loved one passes away, you are likely struggling with many legal, financial and emotional concerns. In the midst of your grief, it is important to seek an attorney’s help to properly administer your loved one’s estate. At the Fort Myers law office of The Warnock Law Group, our probate attorneys have more than 30 years of experience guiding clients through this difficult process. We understand the concerns you are facing, and we will provide the professional, personalized representation you need.
Resolving Probate Concerns
The probate process can be confusing. If your loved one died without a will, it can become even more complicated. We will assess your situation and explain how the laws relate to your loved one’s estate. We will:
Assist executors and administrators to carry out the wishes of the decedent.
Determine that all beneficiaries receive the assets they are entitled to receive.
Minimize the impact of creditor claims.
Work to resolve all outstanding issues so that the estate’s assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries as quickly as possible.
With our extensive experience, we understand what the courts expect to see and how to accomplish the necessary tasks. We will work efficiently to make the probate process as smooth as possible.
Formal Probate Administration And Summary Administration
If the value of an estate’s assets subject to probate is less than $75,000 and certain other conditions are met, the estate may be eligible for summary probate administration rather than the more complicated and time-consuming formal probate administration process. An attorney at our firm can review your situation and discuss your options.
Trust Administration Services
Estate assets held in trusts do not have to go through probate. However, there can be issues regarding the transfer of trust assets that require the attention of an experienced lawyer. We can advise and assist you in these tasks. Whether you have been tasked with trust administration or probating a loved one’s will, we can provide the legal guidance you need.
Managing Steps In The Probate Process
Taking an estate through probate can be time-consuming, complex and emotional. At The Warnock Law Group, we put our experience in estate administration to work to provide comprehensive and efficient services for families throughout the Fort Myers area. If you are wondering how probate works, here are the key steps in the probate process.
Starting The Process
Probate gets initiated through the court filing of a petition for administration. The formal administration of an estate is called either:
Testate: when there is a valid will
Intestate: probate without a will
The court will approve a personal representative unless the decedent’s will names one.
Research And Due Diligence
Identification of assets and debts includes publishing a notice of administration in a local newspaper. Florida statutes give creditors up to three months to file a claim on the estate with the court. While this is going on, the personal representative goes about the work of completing an inventory of assets, getting appraisals if needed, and researching what final tax documents need to be filed. This step can be especially complicated if the estate has a high net worth.
Some complications are possible during the probate process. If heirs contest the will’s stipulations, it may lead to litigation. Property sales, tax return completion and handling payments to creditors can stretch out the amount of time it takes to settle an estate.
Even if the decedent’s will names a representative, that person can retain legal representation to expedite the steps of probate. This will ensure that all steps get thoroughly followed per Florida law.