Losing a Loved One is Hard.
We're Here to Help.
Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience that we all will go through at some point. In addition to coping with the loss of a family member or friend, the process of settling their estate can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.
Probate is the legal process of settling an estate and transferring assets after someone has died. Here at The Preston Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling probate in Florida and can guide you through the process. We can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities as an executor or heir, navigate the court system, and ensure that the deceased’s assets are properly distributed according to their will or state law.
By working with us, you can rest assured that your loved one’s estate will be handled with care and professionalism, allowing you and your family to focus on healing and remembering your loved one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate. It can be a confusing and overwhelming process, but it’s important to understand the steps involved and your rights and responsibilities as a personal representative or beneficiary. This frequently asked questions section is designed to provide answers to some of the most common questions that arise about the probate process in Florida. Here you will find information on what probate is and whether it’s necessary. Additionally, you will find answers to questions about the costs and timelines involved, as well as questions about hiring an attorney and more.
Whether probate is necessary after a person dies depends on the value and nature of the assets of the estate. If the deceased person owned assets in their name alone, probate may be necessary to transfer ownership of those assets to the beneficiaries.
If the deceased person's assets are less than a certain value, or if the assets are already held in a trust or payable-on-death account, probate may not be necessary. However, even if probate is not required by law, it may still be a good idea to open a probate estate in certain situations, for example if there are creditors that need to be paid or disputes among heirs.
Probate is the legal process by which the assets of a deceased person are collected, debts and taxes are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. The process is typically initiated by filing a petition for probate with the appropriate court. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the probate process can take several months to a few years to complete.
It's typical for probate in Florida to take around 6-12 months for the simpler cases and can take longer for larger or more complex estates.
YOU are NOT responsible to pay the decedent's debts our of your own pocket.
When a person dies, their debts must be paid before their assets can be distributed to their beneficiaries. In most cases, the executor of the estate is responsible for paying the deceased's debts, including any outstanding mortgages, loans, credit card balances, and medical expenses. However, it is important to note that the executor will use the assets in the estate to pay these debts and can only pay these debts if the estate has sufficient assets to cover them. If the estate does not have enough assets to pay all of the debts, the debts will be paid in a certain order of priority established by law, usually starting with funeral and administrative expenses, then secured debt like mortgages, and finally unsecured debts like credit card balances.
Florida law provides a commonly used framework for attorney fees in probate cases. The relevant statute is found here: Florida Statute 733.6171. In most cases, the statute states that a reasonable fee is 3% of the value of the estate plus and income generated during the administration.
However, at The Preston Law Firm, we recognize that this statutory fee is not appropriate for all circumstances. Instead, we utilize a flat fee-based structure (see below). This way the client isn't surprised when it's time to pay the invoice.
In most cases, an attorney is required to handle a probate matter by Florida law. The few exceptions are (1) when the estate is so small (usually less than $6,000) that the estate is administered through a process called "Disposition Without Administration" and (2) when the Personal Representative (Executor) is also the only beneficiary of the estate. Even so, it is stull usually a good idea for the beneficiary in the second scenario to hire an attorney as the probate process is very complex. If you fall into the first scenario, you may obtain a Disposition Without Administration form from the local Clerk of Court's office.
Why choose The Preston Law firm?
Our attorneys have years of experience in handling probate matters and have the knowledge and skills necessary to guide clients through the process.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we are known for our professionalism, integrity, and commitment to our clients.
We provide comprehensive probate services, including assistance with the administration of estates, estate and trust accounting, and the preparation and filing of all necessary legal documents.
We understand that probate can be a sensitive and emotional time for families. That’s why we strive to provide personalized attention and care to each of our clients.
We are dedicated to resolving probate matters in a timely manner, minimizing the stress and uncertainty for clients.
Probate can be very expensive. We offer cost-effective solutions for our clients, in most cases utilizing a flat-fee structure. This allows us to provide our clients with excellent value for their money.