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Probate and Estate Administration

Experienced Florida Attorney Handles Probate and Estate Administration for Clients

Reliable lawyer assists personal representatives in the Tampa area

Probate is the court process for identifying and gathering assets of a deceased person (also known as a decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries. If the decedent left a valid will, the will should be filed in probate court within 10 days of receiving notice of the death. There is no fee to deposit the will with the county clerk of court, but a filing fee must be paid to the clerk upon the opening of a probate matter. The will should list a personal representative (executor) and the beneficiaries of the estate.  It’s like a treasure map that tells the personal representative and the court where those treasures should go.  But a will does not avoid probate.

Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.  If the decedent had no will, probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to those who are considered heirs under Florida law.  Probate is also necessary to wind up the decedent’s financial affairs. Administration of the decedent’s estate ensures that the decedent’s creditors are paid as required under the law.

There are two types of probate administration under Florida law: summary administration and formal administration. A personal representative should always hire a qualified attorney to represent them in the administration of the decedent’s probate estate. Legal issues arise in even the simplest probate administrations, and most of these issues will be unfamiliar and difficult for non-attorneys.

If you’ve been appointed to serve in the position of either personal representative or trustee, you can benefit from sound legal guidance so you are not held personally liable for losses in the value of estate assets due to errors or misconduct.  I guide individuals in Florida through the probate and estate administration process with confidence and efficiency.

Under Florida law, all attorneys who render services to the estate may be awarded reasonable compensation from the estate. And Florida Statutes 733.6171(1) states that attorneys for personal representatives shall be entitled to reasonable compensation payable from the estate assets without court order. See my post on probate fees for more information about probate attorney’s fees.

Please contact my office to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

Thorough advocate advises clients during every step of probate

Probate can refer to the court process of validating a will so an executor can implement the decedent’s wishes or to the oversight the court provides for an estate administrator who settles an intestate estate — one in which the decedent left no will.

Most executors are not familiar with the relevant laws, and some are even surprised to learn the decedent’s will named them as the responsible party. To complete the process of settling an estate, I may help executors with the following tasks:

  • Getting court approval as executor/estate administrator and posting bond
  • Filing the will with the appropriate probate court
  • Locating beneficiaries
  • Finding and assembling assets
  • Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
  • Hiring valuation, genealogy or other experts, when appropriate
  • Paying creditors and claimants
  • Collecting amounts owed to the estate
  • Paying current and delinquent taxes as well as estate taxes
  • Distributing property to beneficiaries

Estate representatives can easily make mistakes due to inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. At Longa Law Firm, P.A., I provide clients with reliable, detailed guidance.

Even in seemingly straightforward probate and estate administration matters, disputes among beneficiaries or between beneficiaries and the executor can arise. When these conflicts surface, you can rely on my counsel and professionalism in negotiations or in court.

Knowledgeable attorney helps clients become personal representatives and administrators

Distributing a decedent’s property cannot take place without a personal representative managing and overseeing the process. When a person does not leave behind a will or establish another means of wealth transfer, the most willing and capable relative usually seeks court approval to act as the personal representative of the estate. I can help qualified individuals obtain the status of estate executor or personal representative.  At Longa Law Firm, P.A., my goal is for you to settle your loved one’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.

Contact a reliable Florida probate and estate administration lawyer

Probate and estate administration issues can feel overwhelming for people unfamiliar with estate law. Longa Law Firm, P.A. helps people throughout Florida to ease the burden. To schedule a consultation, call my Tampa office at 813-751-3500 or contact me online.