Sylvia Noel White is the experienced probate lawyer in Clearwater you need to navigate the court process and other issues that arise after a loved one’s death. She has assisted countless individuals, who live and work in the greater Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Largo, and Dunedin areas, after a loved one has died. In most cases, an attorney is required to assist in the probate process.
Intestate or Testate
When there is no will, it is an intestate estate, and the probate court must then determine who is entitled to your assets (assuming there is some left over to distribute after all debts and expenses have all been paid). 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. Work with a probate lawyer in for assistance with your will so your loved ones and others are provided with the assets you wish for them to receive.
When there is a Last Will and Testament, it is a testate estate. After you die, the “will” is deposited with the clerk of court. The Court will determine that your will is legally valid. People are permitted to object to the “will”, also known as a will contest, however, by working with an experienced attorney the likelihood of a challenge is greatly diminished. An experienced lawyer can help you craft a will that explains exactly how you would like your assets to be distributed.
The Fine Details of the Probate Process
Probate is the legal system’s process of administering the estate of a deceased person so assets can be passed on to a person’s beneficiaries. If you die with assets in your name alone at the time of death then probate is required.
When a person dies, the case will be opened with a probate court. The Court will appoint a Personal Representative or more commonly referred to as an executor or administrator. The personal representative will be expected to perform all of their duties required by law.
Your personal representative is responsible for:
● Notifying creditors, the public, and those who may be interested in your estate of your death;
● Preparing and filling an inventory of the estate assets;
● Paying all properly filed creditor claims filled in the estate;
● Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries;
● Filling all required documentation required by the Court.
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 Wills and 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 consult with an experienced attorney to ensure you are on the right path.
Call your experienced wills and probate attorney, Sylvia Noel White of Clearwater, Dunedin and Palm Harbor, today for a consultation. 727.735.0645