Orlando Probate Lawyer
Guiding Clients Through Probate for 25+ Years
Jackson Law, we assist our clients with every aspect of probate, from guiding the
executor of the estate through the proceedings to representing surviving
family members in probate litigation, to implementing
estate planning strategies that can be used to avoid probate altogether. Under the terms
of the Florida Probate Code, the estate of a person who has died with
or without a will must pass through the process of probate.
Why Choose Jackson Law?
- 75+ Years Of Combined Experience
- Legal Services Available In English, Spanish & Portuguese
- We Promptly Reply To All Calls & Emails
- Full-Service Representation Delivered To Each Client
- Our Legal Team Is Top-Rated & Highly Successful
Contact us online or call (407) 477-5046 for a case evaluation with a skilled probate
attorney in Orlando. Se Habla Español.
Probate is the legal process used to distribute the assets of a decedent's
estate after he or she dies. The court decides whether or not the will
is valid, helps to identify and inventory the estate's assets, has the
property in the estate appraised, sees to it that any debts or taxes owed
by the estate are paid, and oversees the distribution of all remaining
property as the will directs, or if there is no will, as state law directs.
Probate involves three major actions:
- Identifying and gathering the assets of the decedent
- Rendering payment to satisfy debts owed to the decedent's creditors
- Distributing the assets remaining to the beneficiaries of the estate
With the help of Jackson Law, we can help you with matters involving:
What Are The Advantages of Probate?
While a large percentage of people who come to our office do so with the
intention of keeping their estates out of the probate courts, this is
not true of everyone. There are, after all, certain benefits to probate.
When a loved one dies, something must be done to make sure all of the affairs
that the deceased has left behind are managed. Probate may also be necessary
in cases where one wishes to transfer assets from the deceased's name
to another beneficiary. In the state of Florida, the individual's estate
has the discretion to choose how affairs will be handled. This is done
by creating a will.
Probate gives you the opportunity to challenge a will that you believe
your loved one may have drafted while not of sound mind or while under
the undue influence of a person who did not have their best interests
at heart. Additionally, taking the estate to probate means that the decedent's
creditors will have only three months to pursue claims against the estate,
after which their claims will be forfeited under Florida law.
Importance of a Will
The process of creating a will begins with the person who is filing on
behalf of his or her estate. This must meet all of the requirements under
Florida law to be valid, and should be signed by the individual and witnesses.
The will contains directives, such as who is the personal representative
of the will and which beneficiaries will be expected to receive assets
and properties. The individual may also use the will to establish a trust.
Without a will, Florida's probate law will take precedence over who will
be the beneficiaries and how assets may be distributed.
What Are Some Disadvantages to Probate?
Many of our clients come to our Orlando probate attorneys with questions
how to avoid probate. There are many reasons for this:
- Probate can be highly expensive in terms of court costs, and these costs
are to be paid to the court before the beneficiaries of the will receive
anything in terms of an inheritance.
- The same is true of debts, which must be paid prior to distributing any
assets to the beneficiaries.
- Probate will often leave little or nothing to the surviving family members.
This is a great concern to our clients who want to make sure that their
loved ones are able to enjoy the full benefit of the fruit of their lifelong
- Depending on the complexity of the case, probate can take anywhere from
a few months to an average of 12 to 18 months or even longer
- The proceedings in a probate case become a matter of public record, thereby
exposing certain information concerning the estate and your personal affairs
to public scrutiny.
Does All Property Have to Go Through Probate When a Person Dies?
Actually, all property of the decedent does not have to go through probate.
Some property passes outside of the will, such as if a decedent owns a
home with a spouse, and the property was held as joint tenants by the
entirety. In such case the home passes automatically to the surviving
spouse by operation of law, in other words, nothing extra has to be done.
The property is merely deemed by law to be the sole property of the surviving
spouse upon the death of the other spouse.
Who can be a personal representative?
A personal representative can be a bank, an individual, or a trust company.
An individual who is a resident of Florida, a spouse, a brother or sister,
or another close relative can also serve as a personal representative.
Why does a personal representative need an attorney?
In most cases, a personal representative must be represented by an attorney
due to the legal issues which may arise during the pendency of probate,
and the Court will order that a personal representative retain an attorney.
If the will directs that a certain attorney is used, the personal representative
is not bound by that direction. Also, it is important to understand that
the attorney for the personal representative does not represent the beneficiaries
under the will. The attorney only represents the personal representative
to help carry out his or her duties.
Talk to a Probate Lawyer Today (407) 477-5046
If you need guidance in planning your future, turn to a probate lawyer
at Jackson Law PA. We are ready to answer your questions. Continue reading
below on how to avoid probate.
Related Reading about Probate
Jackson Law PA offers counsel for all probate matters in Florida. We work
hand-in-hand with you to reach your goals. To get started, call us today for a