Estate Planning, Elder & Probate Law Firm in St. Petersburg Creating Peace of Mind Through Personalized Planning

St. Petersburg Probate Lawyer

Finley Williams Law, PA Offers Sound Legal Guidance You Need

As in other states, the probate process can be quite complicated in Florida. Depending on the factors involved in your unique situation, it may be possible to avoid probate. You may also be required to go through a formal probate proceeding if you do not meet the criteria for a simpler administration method.

Our St. Petersburg probate attorney can help you understand your options and determine the best course of action. In every instance, we tailor our legal services to meet your unique goals, working with you in an effort to secure a speedy resolution and the best possible outcome.

Interested in speaking with St. Petersburg Probate Attorney? Schedule a complimentary consultation by calling (727) 280-6837 or filling out a contact form.

Understanding the Probate Process

If a person dies and does not leave behind a will or trust, his or her estate will go through probate. This is the process used by the court to distribute assets to the deceased’s heirs and other beneficiaries. An estate is also subject to probate if it does not qualify for a simpler form of administration (see below), even if the deceased did create a will.

Generally speaking, the probate process goes as follows:

  • An individual, sometimes the executor named in the deceased’s will, requests to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate by a circuit court.
  • Heirs or beneficiaries (if a will exists) are provided with notice of the probate proceedings. They then have the opportunity to object, if they wish.
  • The personal representative is given authority to settle the estate by the court (granted via a Letters of Administration document).
  • If a will exists, it must be proven valid through the court. If the will is “self-proving,” simply filing the document is sufficient; in other cases, statements must be made regarding the will’s validity.
  • The personal representative, under the supervision of the court, inventories the assets of the deceased’s estate, pays any outstanding debts, and divides the remaining assets.

If an individual objects to an aspect of the probate process, for instance, how remaining assets are distributed amongst heirs and/or beneficiaries, he or she may make an objection with the court.

Settling an Estate in Florida: Alternatives to Probate

In some instances, it may be possible to avoid probate altogether. Under Florida law, certain assets do not go through probate, including property that belongs to multiple people (a shared house, for example), assets in a living trust, or assets that have been designated to a specific beneficiary.

Additionally, it may be possible to avoid the probate process through Disposition without Administration. This statute is meant to offer reimbursement to those who pay a deceased individual’s final expenses (such as burial costs), and is generally only applicable when the deceased had very little assets.

Another alternative to probate is summary administration—a probate shortcut that may be used when the total value of the deceased’s estate is less than $75,000 or the death occurred more than two years prior.

Speak with Our Probate Attorney Today

If you have received notice of probate proceedings, or you wish to be named the personal representative of an estate going through probate, our firm can help. We regularly assist clients with a range of complex, probate-related issues, including trust administrations. Our St. Petersburg probate attorney has an in-depth knowledge of this particular area of law—knowledge that she uses to help you navigate the process.

Discuss your options with us today; call (727) 280-6837 or contact us online.

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