The Probate Process in Florida
Let an Orlando Probate Attorney Guide You Along the Way
When you have lost a loved one and are now facing the prospect of probate,
it is very much in your best interests to hire a probate attorney in Orlando
to guide you through the process and work to protect your personal interests.
Your lawyer can take measures to expedite the process so that you are
not subjected to unnecessary delays in receiving your share of the estate.
Additionally, your attorney can represent you in litigation in the event
that disputes arise over the validity of the will. If you have been appointed
as personal representative of the estate, also referred to as the executor
of the will, a lawyer can help you ensure that you are carrying out the
necessary steps in the proper manner, and defend you against allegations
of breach of fiduciary duty.
Come to Jackson Law for help from a team with
30 years of combined experience in estate planning and probate law.
What to Expect During Probate in Orlando
To provide you with a better understanding of the process and to help you
prepare for the experience, our Orlando probate attorneys offer this brief
overview of how probate works under Florida law. At the beginning of the
probate process, it is necessary to file the will, along with certain
additional documents and a fee, with the clerk of the local circuit court.
The court then appoints a personal representative to oversee the case
and to carry out the terms of the will, when one exists.
In cases in which there is a will, the personal representative is the executor
named in the document, whereas in cases of intestate succession, where
there is no will, the personal representative is appointed according to
the terms of state law. The personal representative is charged with several
duties in the administration of the estate.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting an inventory of all of the assets of the estate
- Performing a valuation to determine how much the individual assets, and
the estate as a whole, are worth
- Publishing a notice to creditors in the local newspaper as a formal alert
that creditors who have an interest in the estate should now take action;
after three months have passed since such publication, creditors who have
not filed claims forfeit their right to pursue payment
- Searching for any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors in order
to alert them of the fact that they have only a limited amount of time
to file a claim against the estate
- Issuing a notice of administration to inform any who might have an interest
in the estate that the estate is currently in probate and of the procedures
that interested parties must follow in filing objections
- Paying the claims of creditors, when these are proven to be valid, and
contesting claims that appear to be invalid
- Paying taxes that may be due, such as the federal estate tax, and filing
income and estate tax returns
- Paying court costs
- Distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the beneficiaries designated
in the will, as well as according to the state laws concerning inheritance
rights of surviving spouses and children
Probate Litigation and Defending Against Claims of Misconduct
In the performance of any of these functions, the personal representative
of the estate is liable to be accused of legal violations or breach of
fiduciary duty. When this happens, whether you are a beneficiary of the
will or the personal representative, it is important to have an experienced
Orlando probate lawyer on your side to defend you against the allegations.
In order to prevent such an outcome, it is wise for the personal representative
to hire legal representation at the outset of the process, to provide
legal guidance and defense.
Find out more about the process of probate and begin preparing for your
own case by
contacting us now for an initial consultation.