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1108 S. Highland Avenue 
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-735-0645
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Probate Attorney | Clearwater | Dunedin | Palm Harbor

If you need an experienced probate attorney in the Clearwater, Dunedin or Palm Harbor area, call Noel White today to set up a consultation. Probate is a widely used term and, although many people know it has something to do with wills, many do not understand the process until they are forced to deal with it.

What is probate?

It is the legal system’s process of administering the property and estate of a deceased person and validating the will so it can be properly carried out. Although the probate process isn’t set in motion until after you’ve passed away, there are steps you should be taking now so you have a say in what goes where and to whom when the time comes. Probate also makes sure your will is legally valid so you can have peace of mind knowing when you are gone, your loved ones and beneficiaries will receive what they’re entitled to.

How the Probate Process works

Once you have a will you need to have the probate court validate it. Next you will need to name your Noel, also known as an personal representative, who will be in charge of your trust administration.

When a person dies, the case will be opened with a probate court, also known as a surrogate court. The personal representative will be expected to perform all their duties. At any point during the probate process, people are allowed to protest any aspect of the administration they do not agree with (also known as a will contest). In order to do so properly, they will need a wills and probate attorney.

Your personal representative is responsible for:

  • Notifying creditors, the public, and those who may be interested in your estate of your death
  • Conducting property inventory
  • Distributing property, assets and estate to heirs and creditors
  • Handling all expenses (funeral costs, debt, family expenses, etc.)

If you have made a will and want legal assistance validating it or naming a Noel, call Noel White, Wills and Probate attorney of Clearwater, Dunedin and Palm Harbor, Florida today.

Intestate or without a will

When there is no will, the case is considered intestacy, and the probate court must then determine who is entitled to the estate (assuming there is some left over to distribute after all debts and expenses have all been paid). This is what is known as the intestacy law, also known as the law of descent and distribution. Do you have a will but no Noel? Your wills and probate attorney will typically petition the surrogate court to appoint one.

This process is not just pertinent to those with a will. If you do not have a will, the laws of where you live will determine what happens to your property and assets after you die. With a revocable or irrevocable trust, probate can be avoided, by holding property (these cases are typically handled privately).

No Probate (Disposition  of Personal Property Without Administration)

When the deceased person leaves very little behind, this process allows the payer of the person’s final expenses, including the funeral and expenses of the last illness, if any, to be reimbursed from the assets of the estate. (Fla. Stat. 735.301.)

It can be used only when:

  • the deceased did not own any real estate,
  • the only assets are either exempt from creditors’ claims or don’t exceed the amount of final expenses.

How a Probate Attorney Can Help

A lawyer well-versed and experienced in the Florida Probate Laws will be the difference between a disaster and a smooth transition. It is important to make sure all of your property and assets are handled appropriately in a timely manner to prevent your family having to deal with the added stress while grieving.

The first step in the process is to get a receipt of probate, a legal document that will ensure you are on the right path.

Call your experienced probate attorney, Noel White of Clearwater, Dunedin and Palm Harbor, today for a consultation.  727.735.0645